by Jacy Johnston
Every summer, college campuses undergo frantic construction in preparation for the upcoming school year. This summer, Concordia’s campus received renovations in the form of demolition and expansion, along with updates to the interiors of Ruth B Hall and Weller Hall.
Demolition and Expansion
The removal of three houses on the south side of campus allows for new projects in the future.
The Marxhausen house, named after former Professor Marxhausen, was removed from the corner of Columbia Avenue and Lincoln Avenue. While the home was donated, there were costs associated with demolition. This newly empty lot will eventually become the home of the Center for Liturgical Art, according to Gene Brooks, the vice president for student affairs. The Center for Liturgical Art is currently in the basement of Jesse Hall. However, construction will not begin this year.
Behind the Ruth halls, another house was removed for the construction of a new parking lot. The parking lot’s entrance faces Lincoln Avenue. This new parking is closer to the residence halls and will help students avoid parking tickets along Lincoln Avenue.
Finally, a house behind Jonathan Hall was demolished. There is not a specific use for it in the current five to 10 year plan; however, this space is prime growth space for the university if it is needed in the future.
The costs associated with the removal of all the homes were funded from operating capital funds, Concordia’s executive VP CFO/COO Dave Kumm said.
While the parking lot behind Ruth B was funded through operating capital, it will be paid back with the technology and facility fee built into student tuition. This fee has increased for the upcoming school year to $600. Campus parking will continue to be free for all students upon required registration in the Student Life Office.
Weller Hall received its final updates as part of a two-part renovation. Last summer, much of the groundwork for construction—code compliance—was completed.
This summer, the chapel area was painted and had new lighting installed. On stage, a new screen and stage extension were added. The stage extension is covered by artwork from the Center for Liturgical Art.
In addition, windows were added to the building, and new seating is in the works.
One of the few hiccups in summer construction was the delivery of the seats. The seats are not currently installed, but, according to Campus Pastor Rev. Ryan Matthias, ideally they will be done within the first few weeks of school. New carpet will also be completed in the aisles and in the front of the chapel.
Weller Chapel funding came completely from donor gifts.
Ruth B Hall
Ruth B Hall received a complete renovation. It was the final residence hall on campus to receive air conditioning.
Ruth B also had electrical, plumbing and flooring upgrades. The dorm has new furniture that arrived just before the returning students. According to Brooks, it is essentially a new dorm.
“Ruth B is currently being funded through a 5-year loan and will be paid back through boarding fees,” Kumm said. “Cash flow was tight, so we chose to go the direction of a loan to help ensure we had all halls air conditioned when the students returned.”
In the summer of 2015, Ruth A received a similar makeover.
Other small projects included fresh paint in TLEC classrooms and the updating of the sidewalk in front of Founders Hall.