Construction on Eastern Michigan University’s main classroom building, Pray-Harrold, will be completed and ready August 31 for the first day of fall classes.
While Mark Jefferson’s science complex addition was opened last December, renovations to the “old” section of the Mark Jefferson building are ongoing and are expected to be substantially completed by the Fall 2012 semester.
EMU’s Physical Plant Planning and Design Manager Seán Braden said the renovations for both projects are on schedule and on budget. The projects cost over $130 million combined.
Braden said faculty and staff will be moved back into Pray-Harrold in phases starting August 12 and continuing through August 25.
“For those people who are moving back into the building, we have an organized process for facilitating each of the moves,” he said.
Linguistics Professor T. Daniel Seely has not seen the updated Pray-Harrold yet, but said he has high expectations for the project.
“Generally, I’ve been impressed with the whole experience,” he said. “It’s been well-planned, very thoughtfully and efficiently executed.”
He added it was a huge task to move faculty members and arrange temporary offices and classrooms.
Executive Director of Media Relations Geoff Larcom said the university is excited about the renovations, which he referred to as “an unprecedented capital plan of improvements to academic facilities.”
“Eastern Michigan is investing in a variety of programs and renovations that are beneficial to students and faculty in Pray-Harrold and in the Science Complex,” Larcom said. “The key is making these spaces more usable for both faculty and students.”
Christina Varney, a first year chemistry graduate student at EMU, said the renovations are a positive move for the university and that she likes the new lab workbenches in the Science Complex.
But, she did take issue with the size of the swing space her instrumental analysis course was given during the 2011 winter semester.
“Because our class [size] is so small, it’s a class in a lab. And our class was in like, it says it’s a conference room, but it was a closet basically. So then we just decided to have class in the lab room instead.”
She also added the heating and cooling system in the Science Complex is still troublesome; chemistry Professor Ruth Armitage agreed.
“We’ve had some heating and AC problems that should be resolved when all the systems are connected,” Armitage said.
She added the temporary labs in the Science Complex are not ideal for her classes, but generally the situation has been working out fine.
“The new labs are, in my opinion, the most important upgrades to the building,” she said. “Mainly, that’s because they are what affect me and my students most.”
She went on to say the company MovePlan did a great job organizing the first move and most things ended up exactly where they were supposed to be.
“While construction is always painful, the new building will be well worth it in the end,” Armitage said. “It’s an exciting time to be in the sciences at EMU right now.”
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