Building upgrades improve campus

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    By Julia Leaman

    Many changes have been made on Brigham Young University campus that if someone leaves for only one year, they will return to a new, unrecognizable campus.

    The Harold B. Lee Library was originally completed in 1961. In 1996 construction crews came in and began digging a hole into the campus ‘quad’ as large as the Marriott Center.

    “We studied for a long time how to put an addition on it with other buildings around it,” said Norm Faldmo, director of planning.

    They decided the best way was to put the addition underground.

    The 234,000 square foot addition to the library opened in Fall 1999. The dedication of the new addition will take place mid-November of this year.

    Faldmo said during the time of the construction on the HBLL there were other major construction projects on campus too.

    “It was the most intense construction we’ve experienced on campus. I don’t know if we want to do it again but the results were worth the effort.”

    The Wilkinson Student Center renovation was in the planning for 12 years. Of the costs, 60 percent was paid for by students.

    Ed Abbott, director of construction, concessions and vending, said the building needed a major overhaul. The result was a new food court – The Cougareat.

    The renovation added 110,000 square feet. Space was made for many student services offices, which were previously spread out on campus.

    These services are moved to one area now which is really convenient for students, said Abbott.

    The WSC has nice lounge areas and a new computer lab on the first floor.

    Questions arose if students would really use a new computer lab in the WSC. Their answer came right after it opened when they found out how necessary it became.

    “It turned out to be the busiest area,” Abbott said.

    Planning and construction really tried to make the WSC a place students can call their own. That goes for any building on campus, said Abbott.

    “A home away from home, not only in housing but in buildings as well” Abbott said.

    The Harris Fine Arts Center is an ongoing project. Two years ago the building was updated with a fire protection system.

    “When the HFAC was built, energy was a lot cheaper,” Faldmo said. The renovations include implementing energy efficient walls and windows and a seismic upgrade to strengthen the building.

    Another new building is the Student Health Center, completed in 1998. This replaced the McDonald’s Health Center just south of campus.

    The new Health Center contains offices for medical staff, isolation rooms, treatment rooms, a physical therapy center and an x-ray laboratory and analysis room.

    Faldmo said the other building was obsolete to meet the current medical needs.

    “It didn’t provide the space requirements and technology needed so it became necessary to move.”

    The Smith Family Living Center will start construction next year. The building will be torn down and completely rebuilt. It will be changed to the humanities and college of family life building.

    The Eyring Science Center was renovated from 1995 to 1997. The building was completely gutted, and the steep lecture halls were removed. The structure was also strengthened for earthquake resistance.

    Before they remodeled, the building would not meet current chemistry, teaching, and research needs.

    “We just try to keep updated with the current trends for education,” said Faldmo.

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