Pray-Harrold renovations under way

As Pray-Harrold is readied for renovation this spring, Eastern Michigan University staff have been relocating and preparing for a massive change.

Administrators conducted extensive research of campus space and dubbed the project the “swing space plan.” The plan includes moving professors and mobilizing campus space to be used for classrooms, offices and storage.

Pray-Harrold, EMU’s largest classroom building, officially closed at 5 p.m. April 30. Access to the building will remain off limits until renovations are completed.

Moving offices to residence halls is not an easy task. Professors must stay organized for the upcoming semester as they transition from their home in Pray-Harrold.

The $42 million project will leave staff members in temporary room assignments for more than a year, dispersing them to buildings such as Hoyt and King halls.

To alleviate some of the burden, EMU has hired professional movers.

MovePlan, a large moving company, is in charge of moving faculty members’ belongings to their new offices.

The movers have supplied crates and tubs for staff members to pack their belongings in.

Since January, stickers and paperwork have been flowing through the offices of Pray-Harrold, organizing where things would go for this move.

Russell Jones, a professor in the history and philosophy department, is impressed with the structure and fluidity of everything.

“There has been weekly communication from the move coordinators about what should be done and how to do it,” he said.

Mary Koral, an interactive creative writing lecturer, is also happy with how things are being handled.

“Pray-Harrold needs the renovation,” she said. “Why fuss about it? Our department chair, Rebecca Sipe, advocates taking a positive attitude and making the best of it. I agree.”

University moving seems to have thought of everything, even designating spaces in other buildings for storage of items that won’t fit in the new offices.

However, there have been concerns about the new offices. Some staff members are inconvenienced by the set up of the rooms, which are dorm rooms with permanent desks attached to the walls.

The majority of the offices consist of two dorm rooms with a bathroom attached, leaving the layout much different than what professors are used to. The university has supplied new floor-plans and organizing ideas for people in transition, allowing them to think ahead about what to bring and where to put it.

Another concern from staff members has been safety, but Eastern has left that in the hands of each individual department. They advise that office assignments and placement should be made with safety in mind, telling staff members who have worries to choose where their office wisely.

Since Hoyt is to be nearly taken over by staff, as is a whole floor of King Hall, the departments are joining together to discuss major decisions like how to use common areas, keep everyone safe and how to provide the most convenient work space possible.

Though the renovations of Pray-Harrold have required a lot of preparation, it seems the staff has been content with how things have been handled, but that doesn’t mean adjustments will not have to be made.Koral will have to find a way to keep resources with her in an efficient manner.

“I am pro-move even though I worry about managing all the material I carry to classrooms, music, art, food,” she said.

It appears the most difficult task for staff members is cleaning out the offices they have been in for long periods of time.

“I’m fine with the move; it’s good to purge one’s life from time to time,” Jones said.

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