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More Than A Dozen Initiatives Are Part of A Yearlong-Plus Campus Revitalization Project

Story By:
Paul Miller | Director of Strategic Communications and Community Relations
Redfern Arts Center

It will be a busy summer for the Keene State College Facilities Services team, as nearly a dozen capital investment infrastructure and facility projects continue or get underway across the College’s 150-acre main campus and 50-acre athletic complex.

The work, to be done over the next 12 to 18 months, is multifaceted and a “shift in the way we do business,” said Marc Doyon, the College’s director of facilities services. “In this case, we’re allocating the bulk of the capital infrastructure budget to revitalize existing buildings, rather than build new.”

Part of the College’s 2023 Master Plan, these targeted projects are aimed at making the campus more functional, pleasant, safe and sustainable, Doyon said.

For Fiscal Year 2023, Keene State has a capital budget of $8 million and Board of Trustee-directed investment funding of $9 million, Nathalie Houder, Keene State’s VP for Finance and Administration, said, noting that some of that funding won’t be spent by the end of the fiscal year (June 30) because the College needs the whole summer to complete certain projects.

Renovations and upgrades, including modernizing classrooms; energy-efficiency enhancements; the addition of a new varsity weight room; and reimagining new green space in the center of campus with a focus on new ways for students to interact make up most of the project list.

Some 70 buildings comprise campus, Doyon said.

The initiatives also include hazardous material abatement and demolition of two no-longer-used residence halls, Randall and Monadnock.

The College and Antioch University announced earlier this year that they have a letter of intent to collaborate on the relocation of Antioch’s New England graduate school to that space. Pending approval of the USNH Board of Trustees on a binding agreement, the Antioch campus would open as early as the spring of 2024.

In addition to being a potential new revenue source for the University System of New Hampshire and Keene State, a new Antioch New England campus also removes more than $15 million of deferred maintenance from the books, Doyon said.

Earlier this year, the Bushnell Apartment complex was razed to create an open green space in the center of campus that is being reimagined by college officials. The focus is on using new designs of space to enhance opportunities for socializing, said MB Lufkin, the college’s Vice President for Enrollment and Student Engagement.

One idea that has drawn interest, Lufkin said, is for an outdoor amphitheater. “Just what that, or something else, looks like is being determined, and we are gathering feedback that will guide our thinking,” she said. “But it will be new, and we think exciting for our campus and students.”

Life Safety improvements – fire protection and HVAC upgrades included – and deferred maintenance will be addressed with renovations to Redfern Arts Center.

Other capital funded work includes roof, bathroom and other interior improvements in Holloway Hall; bathroom renovations in Carle Hall, along with architectural planning to open up and invigorate the lobby and other first-floor gathering spaces; classroom renovations, including new, more multipurpose desks and furniture; science lab upgrades; roof repairs to Joslin House; and new stairs leading out from the back of Spaulding Gym.

Doyon said issues with work supplies, such as concrete, could extend the planned length of these projects, but he is hopeful this will be the exception, not the rule.

In addition to larger initiatives, Doyon said, the College continues to move forward with a number of smaller tasks, including repairing, replacing and setting up new furniture in community living spaces, general interior painting, flooring, retrofits, LED lighting and small-office remodels.

Holloway Hall has housed students for 34 years and its 67 bathrooms are due for a well-deserved renovation. “We will be gutting those, upgrading them, and putting in epoxy floors,” Doyon said.

Doyon said the College will contract with Keene-based Engelberth Construction for the major work, and with other subcontractors still to be decided.

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435