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Work will help Catawba realize many dreams

Catawba College News Service

Catawba College’s information technology department has been permanently relocated to refurbished space on the lower level of Hoke Hall, and the staff and resources of the Corriher-Linn-Black Library have made a temporary year-long move from the library proper to the main floor of Hoke Hall.

Meanwhile, across campus from Hoke Hall, the most visible of the on-campus capital improvement projects, the construction of five new residence halls, proceeds at a steady pace.

Abernethy Village — New residence halls on campus

“At this point, we’re only a week behind schedule on the residence halls,” said Henry Haywood, Catawba College’s director of facilities. “If we have nice weather, we should be quickly back on schedule.”

The roofing of two of the residence halls, located behind Abernethy Physical Education Center on Summit Avenue, should be completed by week’s end.

Floor slabs for the remaining three residence halls, located on the footprint of the now demolished Abernethy Residence Hall, also should be poured this week. Then, Haywood said, “A very large framing crew will come on site to bring us back on schedule.”

College administrators expect the new residence halls to be ready for use by the beginning of the 2007-2008 academic year. This fast-paced construction, spearheaded by general contractor, Summit Development of Salisbury, follows a symbolic groundbreaking for Abernethy Village in September and the demolition one month later of the circa-1966 Abernethy Residence Hall.

The demolition of Abernethy Hall and the salvage of many of the materials in it are a source of pride for Haywood. The Knoxville-based E. Luke Greene Company Inc. was responsible for that demolition that successfully recycled approximately 54 gross tons of ferrous metals and disposed of approximately 133 loads of inert debris (concrete, brick and block) as beneficial fill material.

In all, Haywood notes, an estimated 1,650 tons of debris was diverted from the Rowan County Landfill.

The salvage of materials from Abernethy Hall by E. Luke Greene was in addition to the in-house salvage of the building done by Haywood’s facilities department employees. Doors, locks, windows, door and window frames, fire alarm equipment and even toilets were removed by Haywood’s staff prior to E. Luke Greene’s work.

Hoke Hall — A new home for I.T. and temporary space for the library

Through the fall semester, Hoke Hall was transformed, with its lower level completely renovated to create a new server room and office space for the college’s Information Technology (IT) Department. Housed for years in the basement of Corriher-Linn-Black Library, the IT Department now enjoys state-of-the-art equipment, new furniture, new offices, a workroom for doing PC repairs, a hardware/software testing lab, and a small and large conference room for meetings.

The large conference room, equipped with a projector and sound system and both wired and wireless network access, is a multipurpose space that can convert into a computer lab for software training via a mobile cart of 20 wireless laptops.

This renovation occurred over a three-month period that began in late summer.

Walls and ceilings on the lower level of Hoke were demolished and the electrical service was upgraded to include new wiring and lighting. New air-conditioning units were installed in the server room sized for growth and redundancy. A new fire-suppression system and a generator to keep core system and network services functioning in the event of a power failure were also installed there.

“We’re really quite happy to be in our new space,” said Joanna Jasper, Catawba’s chief information officer. “Having all of our staff and the majority of our equipment in one area on campus, having the space to organize and store our tools and inventory, having properly designed workspaces and meeting and training spaces, all of this allows us to be much more productive. We’re also more accessible to the members of the campus community who place an increasing value on our services each year. Our IT facilities now project a professional image in keeping with the quality and integrity of service that we strive to provide.

“Our new server room gives us capacity to grow the IT infrastructure on campus, which is essential as the campus and the world become more automated and network-centric,” Jasper continued. “It also provides an environment that helps protect the tremendous investment the college has made in IT infrastructure and improves the performance reliability of that infrastructure.”

In December, while the college was closed for the holidays, the staff and resources of the Corriher-Linn-Black Library were temporarily relocated to the second floor of Hoke Hall. New computer and phone drops, along with enhanced electrical work, were completed prior to the move.

Due to weight of the library stacks and the fact that the existing floors in Hoke were not adequate to support that weight load, four mobile units were brought on campus to house library collections. This temporary displacement of library staff and resources is expected to last a year while the existing library space is renovated.

Beyond temporary — A renovated Corriher-Linn-Black Library

Plans for the renovation of Corriher-Linn-Black Library have been revised several times by the Salisbury architectural firm of Ramsey, Burgin and Smith Architects Inc. Initial plans called for both a renovation of the existing library space and a large addition to it overlooking the college’s ecological preserve.

Not only were these plans cost prohibitive in light of the other construction needs on campus, but the expansion of the library threatened to encroach on the preserve. This sent the architects and space planners back to the drawing board.

The result is a more modest proposal to be sure, but as Catawba College Library Director Steve McKinzie said, “But that is only part of the story. The subsequent revisions have enabled us to work closely with the architects and Lawler-Wood, the building’s project managers, to refine and hone our plans.”

The results, McKinzie said, will be a renovated and expanded structure, that offers students and faculty what he calls “a high-tech, user-friendly and beautiful research environment which will be a great improvement over our former state of affairs.”

The renovations will capitalize on the existing library’s tall ceilings, large windows and spacious public spaces. An information commons will be created and more attractive seating will be added, along with plenty of computers, a library instruction lab, a reading area, collaborative learning spaces, and even a coffee and drink kiosk.

“The challenge for us is to make the most of the existing building’s relatively limited square footage,” McKinzie said, adding that when the renovation is completed, almost 80 percent of the library’s collections will be housed in high-density or compact shelving to capitalize on available space.

“In three to five years, our long-range plans are to expand the existing library with an addition built on its back side,” McKinzie said. “And with that expansion, we want to incorporate some other types of learning spaces. These could include a mathematics tutorial lab, a writing center, more classroom space and space for the college’s archives.”

McKinzie said he’s proud of Catawba’s commitment to improving and strengthening the library, which was constructed in 1953.

“I think the challenge for libraries these days is pretty much what it has always been,” he said. “We are here to collect and coordinate knowledge in a variety of mediums, and we are committed to working with students to help them to filter all of that burgeoning information. Our goal is for Catawba students to become experienced and competent researchers.”

Beginning in early February, environmental issues in the library will be addressed, according to Haywood, before renovation work begins in the space.

Next, the Cannon Student Center renovation, addition

A renovation of and a 14,000-square-foot addition to the Cannon Student Center are also part of Catawba’s capital improvements.

The two-story addition, which will provide an additional 7,000 square feet of space per floor, will be built on the back side of the building. Meetings with students, faculty and staff to access wants and needs in the upgraded facility are ongoing, Haywood said, noting that these meetings are “the same sort of due diligence we completed for all of the construction and renovation projects which we have underway on campus.”

College administrators anticipate work on the Cannon Student Center to begin in April or May. This renovation and addition will complete the first phase of projects associated with the college’s master plan projection, Haywood said.

Discussions regarding the second phase of the college’s master facilities plans, which include creating a campus technology center on the upper level of Hoke Hall, are just getting underway.

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