By Rachel Stengel and Kevin Whitehead
The completion date for the construction on Rider’s campus is on the horizon. According to Dean of Students Anthony Campbell both the new academic building and the expansion of the BLC theater will be complete for the fall 2011 semester.
“We’re feeling very good about the progress and we’re moving along at a great speed,” Vice President of Facilities and Auxiliary Services Mike Reca said.
The academic building, which is yet to be named, will cover 21,000 square feet. It will house 11 classrooms and 16 faculty offices according to Vice President of Enrollment Management Jamie O’Hara. The new building will be the home of the history and philosophy departments, but classes of all disciplines will be taught in the building, Reca said.
The expanded BLC theater will have a larger stage, a multipurpose room, a dance rehearsal space and more dressing rooms, according to Campbell.
“[The theater] is designed so we can do major musical plays,” he said. “It’s also designed with added space in the front so we can have [flying] sets in the back and be able to close the curtain and still have lectures and movies in the front.”
Musical theater majors believe that they will reap the benefits of the expanded theater.
“I think the new theater will have a huge impact on musical theater majors,” freshman Casey Clark said. “For us it means more rehearsal space and a new large venue and an opportunity for more shows to be presented.”
However, with these improvements, Rider has consistently been revamping its campus.
“It’s something when students come back in the fall; something new has been done or added to the existing buildings,” Reca said. “We’re constantly improving the paving, new walkways, landscaping, classroom furniture and so on.”
However, with construction comes distraction.
The classes of Memorial Hall have been affected because of the large amount of noise coming from its neighboring site. The rumbling of bulldozers and supply trucks have somewhat hindered the attention in the classroom.
“It is a bit of a noise distraction, but it’s nothing right now that we can get around,” history professor Joseph Wojie said. “[The classroom atmosphere] is slightly effected. I think on occasion there is a bit more noise than I prefer.”
Though there tends to be noise in the afternoon, Wojie knows it will pay off. He said the new building will help the departments become more centralized given that the new construction will house two other departments.
“I feel like the history and politics classes are really spread out across campus,” freshman history major Dan Krayton said. “Now [the history department] will have the building to ourselves. It’ll be more specialized and it’ll be more important to help students in that area. Especially to meet with teachers more conveniently.”
This will also give more space for other classrooms of any discipline to meet rather than having more core classes in the Fine Arts building or Memorial Hall.
According to Reca, Rider orginally wanted to have one brand new building that would house the classrooms and a theater. That plan turned out to be “massive” and would need more space for development. Instead, there are two sites of construction in two wholly separate areas.
Though there may be a resounding commotion around campus, students in general seem to feel it will be for the better.
“I think that’s a really good thing,” freshman Diana Gebbia said. “I like the idea that we’re getting new buildings. When I was looking around to other colleges, I saw that some of them were really outdated.”
“It is kind of distracting but it’s going to work out,” Krayton said. “I’ll be there the next three years in that building . It’s beneficial for me and I’m excited to see what it’s like. So right now I’ll deal with [the noise] but it’ll be for the better, especially for next year.”