By Paul Mullin
Plans for a new residence hall and several renovations were announced yesterday afternoon at the Town Hall meeting held by President Mordechai Rozanski in the Cavalla Room of the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC).
In the coming years the University will see upgrades to Internet access, the campus’ emergency notification system, and the construction of a completely new residence hall, slated to be built near the Maurer Center and Poyda Hall. The new hall will contain 152 more beds in apartment and suite form.
“Rider is poised to make significant investments in the quality of the living and learning environment on both campuses,” Vice President of Finance Julie Karns said. “We’re selecting the architects this spring, and plan for a 2009 opening.”
A $22 million bond issue will help pay for Rider’s upcoming renovation projects, $13.8 million of which is set aside for the new residence hall construction, residence hall infrastructure improvements, and a long-awaited upgrade to the current parking situation.
“New electrical infrastructure needed for this project will also reduce the pressure on our current system,” Karns said. “And, more than 300 new parking spaces will be added, too.”
The remaining $8.2 million will be spent on a combination of smaller initiatives, including fire safety, the addition of more blue lights, an expansion to Daly’s, residence hall and Greek house renovations, a core key project, roof repairs, sidewalk and paving projects, and most interestingly, an increase in wireless access on both campuses.
That increase is scheduled to result in wireless internet access in every residence hall on both campuses, a drastic increase from the current wireless coverage area that now spans just the academic buildings, the library, the BLC, Daly’s and some residence hall lounges on the Lawrenceville campus and only the Talbott Library and parts of the student center on the Princeton campus.
Also in the works is an improvement to the emergency response system currently in place on campus. According to Carol Kondrach, associate vice president of OIT, an update was in the works — per Rozanski’s request — following the incident at Virginia Tech and the nor’easter that occurred early last week.
“We are investigating solutions to help communicate with the campus and students, including in the event of emergency situations,” Kondrach said. “We needed to make sure that our communication plan had high-tech and low-tech capabilities.”
Kondrach said the University is currently looking into six different services that would provide an array of resources for reaching the Rider community and the regional community alike.
“Each one is a little different and each offers a wide range of capabilities,” she said.
Rider has also been looking to its fellow universities for direction. Nearby Princeton University has already selected a service, ConnectEd, one of the systems on Rider’s list.
The decision as to which of the services will be implemented at Rider is to be made by the time of Commencement on May 11, and it will be officially in place by the time the fall 2007 semester begins in September.
According to Kondrach, the system will be used primarily in emergency situations, but may be extended to the notification of class cancellations.
It was also announced that the Business Administration and Accounting faculty and administration had received full accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
“Our College of Business Administration is the only college or university in New Jersey to hold these dual accreditations,” said Donald Steven, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.
Debbie Stasolla, associate vice president for planning, announced that the Middle States accreditation team made no official recommendations that require follow-up action, but commended the University for being “poised for new levels of achievement and excellence.”
Steven announced a noteworthy development on the Princeton campus as well, whic is part of the Westminster College of the Arts. This college will encompass both Westminster Choir College as well as the new School of the Fine and Performing Arts, approved in Nov. 2006 by the Board of Trustees.
“This new college will enable us to pursue a broader national reputation in the arts and secure and enhance the University’s commitment to the centrality of the arts to a liberal arts education,” said Steven.
Steven is engaged in ongoing discussion with various task forces and working groups to develop important groundwork necessary for the success of the new college, which will be formally announced in fall 2007.
What we can expect
– Completion of the new Bronc logo
– Renovation of two Greek Houses and Conover Residence Hall
– Completion of bathroom renovations for all Princeton Residence Halls
– Construction in the Bronc Diner
– Completion of the Memorial Hall paving project
– Repavement of the ‘D’ parking lot in Princeton
– Replacement of Wright Residence Hall and Talbott Library roofs
– “Hard launch” of all new logos and symbols
– Formal announcement of the Westminster College of the Arts
– Welcoming of 17 new faculty members including five additional tenure-track lines
By Fall 2009
– Renovation of 50 classrooms and studios
– Renovation and upgrade of six science labs and the Richard Alexander Marine Aquarium
– Construction and renovation of 35 faculty offices
– Major upgrade of the Playhouse on the Princeton campus
– Renovation of rehearsal space and keyboard labs
-Additional reporting by Olivia Tattory