This year, when students returned to Bethel College for the fall semester something was different. The east part of our campus was a construction zone! Tall orange fences block off a large section in the middle of the three residence halls. While it is tempting to grab some hard hats and help out, it's probably best to let the construction crew do their work. The crews are still working and hopefully, they will be through by Fall Festival (October 12-14). Here's a list of some of the work that's been done thus far (I'm sure that I'm forgetting some):
-Academic Center- The new Academic Center was completed this summer. Previously it was known as the Old Science Center. Crews added on a new part to the building and renovated the old part. The building looks wonderful and has a cool atmosphere with a large 3-story atrium that lets in some lovely natural light. It is now home to many faculty offices, has many large classrooms, conference rooms, two computer labs, nursing simulation rooms, and even a student lounge area.
-Haury Hall- Faculty offices that are now in the Academic Center were previously in the basement of one of our residence halls, Haury Hall. These offices were renovated and turned into rooms for students, so that there is more room for all of the freshman that live in Haury.
-Schultz Student Center/Cafeteria- Wow! This place looks incredible! It has a much different feel now that there is different flooring, a different layout, large pictures of students on the wall, new paint, and more food options. Some parts of the building needed a makeover and that's just what happened. There is also a new food service director, Nolan Corne, who is very present in the cafeteria and seems to enjoy interacting with students, working hard to meet our needs. I think many students are thankful and excited about the changes that were made.
-Landscaping- Dalene White and her crew of volunteers have been hard at work planting flowers, weeding, mulching, and doing whatever else is needed to make campus look beautiful! Everything is looking fresh and green. (Well, except for the construction part!)
-Drainage- In the past, it seemed that when it rained in North Newton, KS, campus turned into a swamp-like area. There was water everywhere and many students came prepared with brightly colored rain boots. However, crews have been working hard, digging deep trenches to fix this drainage problem. That is the main reason for all of the construction between the three residence halls. Today, when I walked past, it appeared that all of the trenches were filled in and construction crews were pouring cement for the access road to the Academic Center. I suppose that's a sign that this project will soon be complete!
Overall, it's been really fun to see campus transform throughout the last year and especially these past couple of months. I have to say that I am a fan of the changes and I love Bethel's new, fresh look! As Allen Wedel, our VP for Business Affairs, always says: "It is truly an exciting time to be at Bethel College!"