The work pace at the corner of Seventh and Putnam streets is at full tilt as construction crews sand, paint, wire and finish out the interior of Harrison Hall and ready it for the first round of students to move in on Aug. 3.
As of the end of June, the interior of the newest residence hall has clearly defined living spaces with bathrooms installed. Interior windows that separate study areas from communal kitchens are being installed, as are cabinetry, stoves and other finishing touches.
“This is the largest construction project that the College has ever taken on in such a short period of time,” says Fred Smith, Director of the Physical Plant, during a recent tour of the building.
In the remaining weeks leading up to students returning to campus, workers will insulate the attic, complete the fire alarm and sprinkler system, finish installing the elevator, install carpeting, landscape the exterior and pour sidewalks surrounding the building.
“Work has already begun cleaning the top floors of the A and C wings,” Smith says. Those wings are the two large residence areas and are connected by the B wing, which includes the entryway, lobby, large multipurpose room and kitchen.
One of the entrances along Seventh Street leads students into the main lobby, which is flanked by a communal kitchen and a large multipurpose area. That area provides access to an outdoor patio. On the third floor of that wing is a meditation space.
The second entrance along the Seventh Street side of the building is reserved for students in need of care in the Dr. J. Michael Harding Health and Wellness Center. Around mid-July, workers began moving exam equipment and office furnishings into the facility.
Smith says each suite has its own air conditioning system and that students will be able to adjust the temperature of the room. Additionally, the rooms feature hopper windows, which tilt open from the inside and provide additional security. “And all of the windows have internal blinds,” Smith says.
The new residence hall offers both Wi-Fi and wired access. “The outlets are moved up to desk level, so you don’t have to worry about wires and cables reaching,” Smith says.
Harrison Hall provides ADA accessible rooms in every style that is available — whether a suite or an apartment.
Each floor contains a common area, a study area, furnished alcoves at the ends of each wing, laundry rooms and refuse/recycling centers. Upper floors are equipped with trash chutes.
Rather than having individual kitchens for each suite, Harrison Hall offers a large common kitchen on every floor.
“One of the remarks that we’ve received from students about being able to cook in every room is that there wasn’t enough ventilation to keep smells from lingering in the hallways. This way, by keeping the cooking to the communal kitchen, we have a very powerful exhaust system that can handle that issue,” says Bruce Peterson, Dean of Students. “Students will be able to cook on traditional electric stoves.”
During the planning stages of the project, Dr. Harding suggested that storage lockers be made available in the kitchens so students could store cookware and other staples.
“If a student is interested in having one of these lockers, they just need to request one,” Peterson says.
Peterson also says the parking lot will not be completed by the time move-in day arrives, but that won’t affect the College’s ability to welcome back students.
“Classes start on Aug. 27,” Peterson says. “We’ll be ready.”