New IWU apartment project on schedule for fall semester

2013-06-08T05:00:00Z New IWU apartment project on schedule for fall semesterBy Lenore Sobota | lsobota@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com

BLOOMINGTON — Despite a wet spring, the $6.5 million student apartment project at Illinois Wesleyan University is on target for fall semester.

The twin apartment buildings, named “The Gates,” are among several projects scheduled to be completed over the summer. Others include remodeling the Memorial Center food court, expanding wireless access and opening a new classroom building, State Farm Hall.

“We need the rain to stop so we can do things like the sidewalks, masonry and paving the alley,” Karla Carney-Hall, IWU vice president of student affairs, said last week.

The interior of the apartment buildings should be “substantially completed” by the end of this month, she said. Students will move in Aug. 17 or 18. Classes begin Aug. 26.

The 24, four-bedroom apartments each have storage closets and pantry space and two showers, two toilets and two sinks.

Carney-Hall said, “We really tried to think, ‘How do we make the space functional for four unrelated individuals?’”

Meanwhile, State Farm Hall also is on schedule and faculty members will begin moving into their offices in a few weeks, according to Jonathan Green, provost and dean of faculty.

The $16 million building, on which construction began in December 2011, will have 19 classrooms and 24 faculty offices.

In addition to those new buildings, students this fall will find a completely revamped food court, the first major renovation of that area in at least 15 years.

The old sub sandwich spot will return, but the grill will be gone. In its place will be a soup and salad station, international food and a Southwest-themed location with items such as tacos and burritos, according to Dan Koenen, district manager for Sodexo, IWU’s food service provider. Sodexo is paying for the $1.2 million renovation.

There will be couches, booths, a fireplace, TV sets and coffee service, said Mike Welsh, Sodexo’s campus general manager.

Koenen said, “We really want this to be a destination for more than food — a place for the students to hang out and to study.”

Another project will increase the number of wireless access points from less than 100 to 350, according to Trey Short, assistant provost and chief technology officer.

Short said the $500,000 project will upgrade and expand wi-fi access, not only in residence halls and academic areas but also on the quad.

Carney-Hall said students today bring more wireless devices to school and have greater expectations about connections.

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