Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

August 25, 2012

University upgrade — Renovations welcomed at Concord

A series of construction and renovation projects totaling more than $800,000 on the campus of Concord University are now nearing completion, and should make a welcomed difference on the Campus Beautiful.

The various construction projects that have improved buildings and grounds on the Athens campus have been underway since earlier this year. The work includes areas students are unlikely ever to see, including a new roof on the Marsh Hall administration building and new exhaust vents in food preparation facilities in the Jerry Beasley Student Center.

The new roof cost $340,000 from the university’s capital budget. The student center work added up to around $360,000, with “the lion’s share” of that cost being borne by the campus food service provider, ARAMARK, according to Rick Dillon, vice president of administration and associate dean of students at CU.

Another landmark at the university, the nearly-15-year-old bell tower atop Marsh Hall, also needed inside and outside attention. The university expended $39,000 to repair the peeling and wrinkled facing on the tower’s 12 columns as well as some masonry work. Replacing the electronic controls that play the musical carillon inside of the columns is budgeted at about $24,000. A lightning strike near the tower may have “fried the electronic components,” according to Dillon.

As a result, the carillon can only be played “the old-fashioned way” at the present time by a musician manually striking pedals with his or her hands and feet. The automatic system should be in place within the next few months, according to Concord Vice President for Business and Finance Charles Becker.

A lightning strike also is the likely suspect in problems that have developed at University Point, the newest addition to the Campus Beautiful. Both an electronic piano and an elevator in the building are currently inoperable creating another unexpected cost for the university.

Finally, an extensive renovation project at the president’s home across the street from the campus is nearing completion. The work on the brick building that dates back to the 1930s has been going on for several years and is funded by private donations through individual gifts and through the Concord University Foundation.

Other projects undertaken since last winter include replacing the entry steps to the Bonner House and continuing to replace old vegetation with new landscaping.

Upcoming projects include new roofs for the library and most of the Alexander Fine Arts Center, new entry steps for the Science Hall and Marsh Hall, and renovation of the bookstore scheduled for October.

These necessary infrastructure improvement projects should go a long ways toward enhancing the campus. We congratulate the university on reaching the “substantial completion” stage for most of these projects, and look forward to the completion of the remaining contracts in the next few months.

 

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