University-wide construction offers new and dynamic campus


Photo taken by Miguel Webber

Over the summer of 2014, Trinity University completed various projects around campus, starting with the finalization of the Center for the Sciences and Innovation. Other projects finished include an interior redesign of the Coates University Center, relocation of the mailboxes to a newly furnished Tiger’s Den, and a renovation of Marrs-McLean. Other continued projects include the construction of the Skybridge, a handicap accessible alternative by the finalized Murchison Hall.

The Skybridge which seeks to add a new handicap path to upper-campus is aimed to be completed this coming Fall. Prior to completion handicap or otherwise disabled students were limited in their mobility on campus, having to use ramps around Storch Memorial Library  and the lower-classman residence halls.

Alongside the interior redesign of the Coates University Center, which includes recharge stations and a privacy oriented up stairs, ideal for students looking for a quiet place to study, the mailboxes were moved into the Tiger’s Den. The Tiger’s Den now doubles as a game room, with a pool, ping-pong and  foosball table.

This summer, the Coates Center improved its social functionality by replacing old furniture with chairs and couches in our school colors and expanding the seating area into space that was formerly occupied by the Mail Center, which now resides in the newly redesigned Tigers’ Den.

To junior English major Laurel Meister, the changes will be well received by first years.

“Based on my experiences so far, I think that most students will find a lot of benefits to having the changes,” Meister said. “After one of the dinners we had in the Skyline room, two other students and I went to the armchairs and just relaxed and tried not to fall asleep! We were also hoping that we could maybe reserve them for ourselves. I think the new Coates Center will be pretty popular.”

This year’s incoming class is not the only new addition to Trinity; along with the Coates Center and Tigers’ Den, several other buildings around campus have undergone construction or other improvements. The most prominent of these is the Center for the Sciences and Innovation. After six years of planning and construction, the CSI building is finally complete, including renovations that connect it with the adjacent Marrs–McLean and Chapman buildings. This connection facilitates the interdisciplinary education that is central to academic life at Trinity.

“The whole idea was to build it [the CSI building] so that it wasn’t just a science complex, but that it was a university facility and that the whole university would benefit from this,” said Christopher Pursell, chair of the chemistry department. “There [are] students all over the place, studying, and you’ll walk by and they’ll be writing on the boards and so forth, and it’s not just chemical equations; it’s not just math equations. It’s economics; it’s something else…it really has created a center for intellectual achievement and advancement.”

The other major renovation that occurred this summer was that of Murchison Hall, which sits between upper and lower campus. The renovation includes an elevator and bridge to the Esplanade, which makes the campus more accessible.

Additional changes occurred last summer on the first-year quad with the renovation of  Witt-Winn hall. These changes sought to better accommodate a better setting for incoming first years. The arrangement of the first-year quad alongside the new construction help to facilitate these changes.

“I like the way the freshmen have not necessarily been corralled but have been grouped up in one area so everyone is going through the same emotional experience,” said Jim Baker, associate director of facilities services. “The freshmen have a unique set of hurdles to overcome… one focus [is] to get them into a routine, introduce them to new people and get them out of their room into a social setting to meet and greet and find a pattern or path they want to head down. That’s the uniqueness of how we are set up and why we are set up that way.”

While the campus may serve as a backdrop for the events and happenings at Trinity, to students it is a vital part of the experience here.  The updates  makes sure that the experience each student has is never quite the same; it is, to students, professors, and staff, more than just a backdrop.