Construction Nearing Completion

Old Main's renovations are estimated to cost $27 million.
Old Main's renovations are estimated to cost $27 million.

Old Main’s renovations are set to be completed for summer 2011, according to construction updates. However, progress has run into some complications and delays due to “unforeseen original building conditions.”

Director of Facilities Design and Construction John McEnrue said occupancy of the main portion of the building is expected to occur in August 2011 and the part of the building facing the quad is 85 percent complete. However, the south wing that faces both the Jacobson Faculty Tower and the Humanities Building is between 65 and 70 percent complete.

“Renovations, particularly of older facilities like Old Main, can be difficult because original plans may not be thorough, if they exist at all,” he said.

McEnrue said full occupancy of the building could be pushed back until winter break of  2011-2012. He said this will be done with the faculty’s convenience in mind, and those that have offices there and can move their belongings in lieu of teaching classes.

The faculty that had to relocate from Old Main were from the School of Education, according to the unit’s interim dean, Karen Bell. All four of her departments were moved from Old Main.

The departments of educational studies and elementary education moved to the South Classroom Building, where the dean’s office and other support offices are located, according to Bell. She also said the Departmetn of Secondary Education moved to the South Faculty Building and the Department of Educational Administration moved to the Faculty Office Building.

Bell said classes are being taught in a variety of locations around campus, as they were even before Old Main’s renovations began. She said when Old Main closed, 12 classrooms were unavailable.

“As a means to accommodate all classes with the resulting reduction in the number of classrooms, the time between classes was reduced from 15 minutes to 10 minutes,” she said.

Bell said the reduced number of classes also resulted in them being more evenly spread out over the week.

When Old Main’s renovations are completed, it will add new technology to the classroom. They will be referred to as “electric classrooms,” according to Bell.

“Each outfitted with a computer and projector, as well as a SMART Board and document camera,” she said. “All furniture will be modular and movable, so there will be maximum flexibility of classroom arrangement and interaction style.”

Old Main’s renovation began in 2008 with costs currently estimated to be at $27 million.

According to, it will be the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified project on campus.

Other “green renovations” to Old Main include maximizing water efficiency by 20 percent, the air conditioning systems will contain no ozone depleting refrigerant sources and materials with recycled content will be incorporated into the new construction such as columns and steel beams.