By Ryan Connelly and Lauren Lavelle
Rider’s Lawrenceville campus is getting a much-needed facelift this year.
Last February, Michael Reca, vice president of facilities and university operations, announced a major construction project slated to be completed by fall 2018. His vision included a sizeable redesign of the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC) and renovations to several residence halls.
“We’re calling it the Hundred Day war,” Reca told the The Rider News last spring. “I have 100 days to get this done.”
From the looks of it, it seems Reca held up his end of the bargain.
At the 2018 Opening Fall Convocation on Aug. 30, Reca said the BLC would be completed and fully functional by the first day of classes on Sept. 5. He also noted Wright Hall and Ridge House underwent significant remodels this summer, kicking off a series of dorm renovations that continues with Kroner Hall in the winter and Delta Phi Epsilon and Lake House next summer.
“Since President Dell’Omo has been here, his vision for our resident halls is to make them better spaces to live in,” Reca said. “[We’re] adding air conditioning, amenities to the bathrooms and just reorganizing how we do this.”
A $6.6 million budget was set aside for the first dorm renovations and Reca said an even larger budget is being prepared for the next round of repairs.
“[The] residence halls are a major investment,” he said. “We’ve invested $6.6 million into residence halls [so far] and have another $7 million coming in next year.”
Rider’s dorms were recently a hot topic after The Princeton Review released the 2019 edition of its 384 best colleges list. In the “Is That a Dorm?” category, Rider ranked number one, implying it had the worst dorms out of all the colleges on the list.
“I know we’re not the worst,” Reca said. “It was a very pointed situation and unfortunately we came out first in a category we didn’t want to.”
Kiarrah Johnson, a junior health science major, said she was not surprised when she saw the ranking.
“I think, if Rider [costs] so much money to attend, we should have [better] dorms than what we have,” she said.
Johnson, who lived in Conover and Switlik Halls her two previous years at Rider, moved into the newly renovated Wright Hall on Aug.16. So far, she is enjoying her experience.
“Wright Hall is definitely a huge upgrade from the two previous dorms I lived in,” said Johnson. “I love the bathrooms.”
Overall, Johnson is happy Rider is taking initiative and improving the living conditions.
“I am really glad Rider is beginning to improve buildings on campus to make it look more modern,” she said. “We’re paying a lot of money to attend school here and it’s nice to see that our money is going toward nicer things.”