During the summer, Northwestern completed two instrumental projects that will literally pave the way for campus growth. Construction provides spectators the unique opportunity to catch a sneak preview of what is to come.
The new ring road and parking lot, constructed behind Riley Hall, were built as prerequisites for the upcoming Community Life Commons (CLC). Plans for the CLC were announced in November 2007 with the public launch of the Envision Excellence campaign. Now, one year later, preparatory construction is successfully under way for the CLC groundbreaking in the spring, with a completion goal of Summer 2010.
Associate Vice President of Facility Operations and Planning Brian Humphries defines last summer as "phase one" of the two-year project. He believes that the newly constructed road and parking lot will be significant in two ways. "First, the ring road will create new traffic patterns," Humphries explained. "Second, the new lot will provide enough parking space when those [parking by] Nazareth relocate during [future] construction."
Major construction for the summer began May 19, 2008. In order to complete the project, the construction crew transplanted trees, removed a hill, installed road lighting and created a secured pedestrian tunnel. While these activities required traffic rerouting and parking relocation, the overall impact on campus employees was minimal.
With minor setbacks and diligent efforts, the construction team successfully completed the summer project on August 15, 2008. Blessed with good weather, Humphries describes the summer as "flawless." He explained, "For a project this size, everything went as smoothly as it possibly could have."
For Humphries, a successful summer means a busy school year. Major construction on the CLC is scheduled to begin in April 2009. However, before any walls go up, more work must be done behind the scenes. Humphries’ to-do list includes partnering with architects to complete construction documents, obtaining final city approval and negotiations for a general contractor.
It’s evident that improvements on campus are happening fast. Humphries’ list will quickly evolve into maintaining the brand-new CLC building, which he says will "transform the campus." So, catch the sneak previews while you can! More trucks are coming to pave the way for an exciting time of growth for Northwestern.
Written by Melissa Therrien.