|THE KEENE STATE COLLEGE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS||VOLUME XVIII NUMBER 1 Fall 2002|
Building a Better Keene State
It's been a year (well, longer) of beeping backhoes and slamming pile drivers, as the campus realizes the next stages in its master plan. From a skylit reading area in the renovated Mason Library to an elevator in Morrison Hall and a new boiler in the heating plant, the College is making major home improvements. And the biggest is yet to come. Not long after the last dump truck rumbles off the current construction sites, ground will break on the largest capital project in the College's history – a new Science Center, scheduled to begin construction in April.
Mason Library East Wing
The wood and glass door of the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies will open onto an 800-square-foot room designed to maximize its utility for learning. Set flush in the ceiling will be a projection system and screen that can be lowered by turning on a switch. Windows all around will light the room for exploring the Center's remarkable collection.
With 2,050 square feet of Persian-carpeted space suffused with the natural light of 10 floor-to-ceiling windows, the renovated Marion Wood Reading Area will be "a public focal point," said Rick Bushway, project manager for MacMillin Construction. Seating will be deep, wide armchairs. One wall will be cherry and ash. Part of the renovation: baring the full-height granite columns between the windows that had been walled up when the library was built in the 1960s.
The Recreation Center
Circling above the courts is a track made of "pulastic" – a goop spread in thin layers over plywood flooring. Rules of the road: Run clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on what day it is (so the track wears evenly). Walkers in the inside lane, joggers in the middle, runners on the outside. Ten laps equal a mile. Does it seem to take forever? "It's kind of long, but it helps that we all go together," says Meghan Clanin '05, shown here jogging with "gym mates" Ashley Nest '05 (left) and Christina Schepisi '05 (back).
One hundred twenty students, mostly seniors and juniors, are the keepers of the electronic keys to these doors. Roof: lead-coated copper. Walkway: red-stained concrete. Slabs of concrete are hidden between floors to cut down on noise.
Five roughly barn-shaped buildings each sit on 30 steel piles driven 20 to 80 feet underground. In each building: six apartments with four 10' x 10' single-occupancy bedrooms. Landscaping features include: low-walled brick terraces, a turtle-crossing dip in the sidewalk. Overall feel: quality, not quantity.
The Science Center
All that will seem like the Stone Age after the coming two-year overhaul of the building and a 30,000-square-feet addition. The open south side will be closed with a new wing. Inside the square, an open courtyard will feature groundwater and seismic monitors, plant and geology exhibits, seating, and landscaping. Classrooms and labs will be designed for more hands-on science learning. New student-project rooms will be added. The building will be more unified to enhance the interdisciplinary nature of today's research. Ventilation and storage will get desperately needed upgrades. The entrance will be more natural, with a blue slate floor and wood ceiling. Along Appian Way, an expanse of immense windows will allow students working in labs to see and be seen.
The new space will allow faculty and students to build on their recent successes - including five National Science Foundation grants – and initiatives – including the new major for teachers in general science. "You'd be surprised at what goes on here," said Gordon Leversee, dean of sciences. It's time for people to see all the science being done at Keene State, he believes. "We're giving the sciences a presence on campus."
Deborah Klenotic is assistant editor of Keene State Today.