• Echo Staff

The Big Picture. 2020 Plan


Improving, maintaining and modernizing the campus will keep the Olivet College grounds crew and Physical Plant busy for the next five years and more in hopes of addressing the 2020 and Beyond plan.

The plan includes a drive to update and modify the existing buildings on campus. According to Frank Schumacher (pictured), director of facilities, the plan will touch every building “from the roofs to the windows.”

According to the spring 2012 Shipherd’s Record, the Olivet College alumni magazine, the 2020 plan was announced by President Steven M. Corey, and includes current renovations. A great deal of the 2020 plan is in motion. Completed projects include bathrooms updates in all residence halls, admission office renovations in Dole Hall, the Roznowski Learning Commons in the Burrage Library and a new parking lot by Dole Hall. Future projects concerning the 2020 plan include Gillette phase two, demolition of MacKay and the birth of a Student Center.

Current improvements will help make campus more energy-efficient and will bring Olivet’s historical buildings into the 21st century, Schumacher said.

“These changes have been able to be done from the financial support from alumni from Olivet,” said Schumacher. The challenge for the plan is gathering funds for the work to be done around campus. Schumacher said “The 2020 plan is a moving target…all waiting on what we can get financially.”

A tour through the campus work

Recently, students in the Journalism and Mass Communication basic reporting class learned about the various construction and maintenance projects around Olivet College from Frank Schumacher, director of facilities, Physical Plant.

Here are some updates on campus projects, shared during a walk-around interview conducted on Sept. 11.

Margaret Upton Conservatory of Music

The choir and band rooms are being renovated. All new lockers and acoustic furnishings will be installed this month. Outside, the decorative wood railing on top of Conservatory columns need replacing. Schumacher said, “This winter you may notice it missing as a replica is made and installed.” In the future, new carpet and furniture will be installed, as well as new windows on the exterior and insulation throughout the building.

MacKay Gymnasium

“MacKay is a perfect example of a building in trouble…. I wish we could do more to save it, but it has met its life cycle,” said Schumacher. The old electrical system and deteriorating condition makes the building costly to maintain, and a part from keeping the building safe for students, Schumacher said, “We don’t plan to put any more money into a building.” Instead, the site will house a planned Student Center.

Burrage Library

The Burrage Library has seen the most work this year, according to Schumacher. “We tried to pull all resources into the library so we can finish it and start moving a bulk of our resources into other buildings. This way we won’t have to keep returning to the library and slowing progress on other projects.” The exterior of the library was tuck-jointed, a process of re-cementing bricks to improve stability and appearance. Additionally, work is underway to restore the library’s brick color to its original look. The interior received all new florescent light bulbs to help with energy efficiency and, possibly, most exciting for students, the basement in now a learning commons, a place to buy coffee, study, work on group projects and spend some quiet time in conversation or work. Due to the historic importance of Burrage Library, Schumacher wants to make sure it stays in good shape and, as with all buildings on campus, “…stays visually pleasant.”

Charles Stewart Mott Academic Center

Heating and cooling units in various classrooms have been replaced. There are several projects in the works for Mott. The outside retaining wall bordering the front bows slightly toward the sidewalk, an indication of needed repair and will be “replaced” according to Schumacher. The roof will also need replacing.

“Keeping the students safe and comfortable are one of main concerns,” said Schumacher, and that is why the roof will need replacing within the next few years. The front steps need a face-lift as well, so next summer, while students and staff enjoy some time off, Schumacher said, “ We will plan on doing something to lighten up the front steps without changing the original design too greatly.” Heating and cooling will continue to be a focus, and more units will be placed into classrooms. In the future, Schumacher plans to replace some tiled celling, paint several classrooms and replace current furniture with more modern pieces.

The College Square

The fountain, donated by the Class of 1937, was in danger of removal because of its poor physical condition, but due to the historical qualities and respect for the donating class, Schumacher and others decided to keep it. Dying trees and dead branches are another concern. Because the oak trees are a large part of Olivet history and culture, Schumacher made efforts to avoid removal but “wanted to clear out dead branches that could fall on someone.” Additionally he hopes to open the square up to more light by thinning the dead branches, creating a brighter atmosphere and giving the lawn better opportunity to grow.

Blair Hall

Blair Hall will see several minor and major improvements. Currently the bathrooms on all three floors are in the process of being remodeled and modernized; this project is set to finish by “mid-October” according to Schumacher. Recently, shrubbery and undergrowth were removed from Blair Hall, revealing dark spots where the growth had stained the brick walls. A dead tree near Blair Hall was also removed; the face of the building also received a cleaning and fresh coat of white paint.

Dole Hall

“We replaced the sidewalks, built a larger parking lot, removed two or three trees and grew a new lawn in front of Dole, something Schumacher said “has been difficult to grow in the past.” In addition, Dole’s main floor received a large face-lift earlier this year with a new Admissions center. New bathrooms will be finished during winter break while students are off campus.

Shipherd Hall

Shipherd received new bathrooms in each suite, a large and needed project.

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