Campus center construction commences

Emily Alinder

Friday, Jan. 26 the Board of Trustees formally approved the construction of the Lawrence University campus center and the land bridge.
President Jill Beck commented, “This is a big day because the Board of Trustees said, ‘We’ve raised the money. We like the design. We agree with what’s in it. The land bridge is fine. We like the river walk; we are going to keep raising the money for that. The project can now officially begin.'”
Starting immediately, the site will be prepared. In March, Hulbert House will be deconstructed and the bricks, along with other materials from the house, will be reused in the campus center.
Site excavation will occur in the spring. The construction of the land bridge will start while students are still on campus in June and will be completed over the summer.
As of right now, the campus center will be complete by December 2008.
Approximately $2 million of the $35 million goal is yet to be raised. All the funds have been raised for the campus center and the land bridge, but fundraising will continue for the remaining $2 million, which will go towards the river walk, parking, additional landscaping, and the production and installation of artwork and sculptures.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees William Hochkammer said, “From a Trustee point of view and from the administration point of view, we don’t want to be incurring more debt to do buildings because it helps make us financially stronger if we can complete these projects without debt.”
Hochkammer continued, “We’re completing the Bj”rklunden expansion without debt because we were able to raise enough money, and we’ve been able to do it on a larger scale for the campus center.”
This fall, Assistant Professor of Geology Andrew Knudsen taught the environmental studies “Fox River Through Time” class, where students researched the history of the Fox River, learned about the river’s history and trail design, and made proposals for the river walk.
Knudsen said, “By and large it was a student-driven [class]. I was very intentionally hands-off. I wanted this to be their opportunity to make a plan and to come up with something. They did a great job. I was very pleased with what came out of it.”
In their proposals during 10th week of Fall Term, the students not only suggested signs and lighting but also specific materials for the path.
President Beck, members of the Campus Center Planning Committee, and the architect for the campus center attended the presentation of the proposals. The students’ proposals will be taken into account when the river walk plans are solidified.
Clare Stielstra took Knudsen’s fall class. The junior said, “Most of the time we just worked on researching the river and the significance it has had on the community historically, starting back with the Native Americans that lived here and going up through recent times and looking at how the river has been part of the community life.”
The river walk will start at Lawe Street, pass the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden, and continue along the river to Hiett and the tennis courts.
President Beck said, “It’s important to note that different donors give for different reasons. People who like to fund scholarships will choose to do that and people who like to build buildings chose to do that.”
Beck added, “I didn’t want to give anyone the false impression that we are not raising money for scholarships and other things that matter deeply to students. We are doing that too, all of the time.