Unless you’ve been living like a hermit in the Butt tunnels, you have probably noticed the major construction going on at Wesleyan. Several new buildings have already been erected.
The most recent major additions have been the Fauver freshmen dorm, upperclassmen apartments and prototype senior housing. Many students and faculty members are quite impressed with the new dorms.
“I really like the new Fauver Residence Halls and Apartments,” said Joyce Topshe, assistant vice president for facilities. “The buildings are filled with natural light and good quality furniture and finishes. I’m also pleased that we were able to provide so much social space, both inside and outside. We incorporated a lot of student feedback in the design. For example, we located the laundry next to the lounge and vending. We even thought about…how to rearrange the furniture in case students wanted to do an impromptu dance practice.”
Other members of the community find the dorms to be aesthetically pleasing, but incongruous with other building on campus.
“Fauver is gorgeous,” said Rina Han ’06. “It’s not ‘Wesleyan,’ but it’s a nice addition to campus.”
The two new prototype senior houses are located on Fountain and Warren. Altogether, they hold twenty-four students in five units. Each unit includes single bedrooms, one living room, one dining area, one kitchen, and full bathrooms.
“I doubt that any college can match the quality of these homes which were built with geothermal heating and cooling systems,” Topshe said.
Other seniors are living in the upperclassmen Fauver dorm.
“I don’t think seniors should live in anything called a dorm,” said Cassie Pallas ’06. “One of the reasons I came to Wesleyan was the senior housing, which is an amazing idea. The Fauver dorms are not independent living like senior houses are, so they don’t seem like they’re going to be a huge draw. I haven’t been in them, but the foosball tables and plasma TVs weird me out a little.”
The University is currently overseeing several other major construction projects that are reshaping the face of campus.
“The campus is alive with construction this year,” Topshe said, “The new Usdan University Center is under construction with foundations being started this week. A new addition to the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies is being built on Washington Terrace. [Several] entrance ramps and bathrooms for people with disabilities are being built, and 51 Lawn Avenue is being renovated to create the new Wasch Center for Retired Faculty offices.”
The largest current project is the demolition of the alumni gym, which has made way for the foundation of the Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center, scheduled to open in Fall 2007. The suitability of the location chosen for Usdan has been questioned by some students.
“I think [Usdan] is in a really bad location,” Han said. “It’s completely on the other side of campus from everything else. Students will be less inclined to go there, especially in bad weather.”
There are other noticeable construction sites along the main campus roads. According to Topshe, Alpha Delt is undergoing an entrance renovation and landscaping changes and Psi U is replacing their house’s roof. Both houses are privately owned. South College is receiving a new roof and new bells.
In the near future, construction on a University Museum will begin. The museum will be next to Usdan University Center, and a tunnel will connect the two buildings underground. According to Topshe, as more funding sources are identified, an expanded WesShop in the Fauver area should become a reality within the next one or two years as well.
Heavy construction has been taking place on campus for a few years, and much of it is part of a master plan detailed online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/masterplan. Clark Hall, the chapel, and the theater have been renovated, the new Center of Film Studies building opened last fall, and the new addition to Freeman Athletic Center opened last spring. A new parking lot was added at WesShop, student housing areas have been renovated, and several classrooms have been improved. A long list of scheduled renovations is available at http://www.wesleyan.edu/pplant/major_maintenance_fy0506.htm.