Construction, pipes and what’s coming soon

Overview of the major events and construction projects on campus this year


Samuel Damon

The Chapman Center has been the site of ongoing construction during the 2022 schoolyear.

At the beginning of the year, the only constant was change. Construction trucks, orange cones and yellow caution tape separated the new from the old. Cardiac Hill was closed and signs for “alternative walkways” lined sidewalks. With the countless changes Trinity goes through daily, it’s time to recap this year’s highlights.

Friday, Sept. 23 was the grand opening of Dicke Hall, the new home for the humanities on Trinity’s campus. The dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony started outside, and while the pomp and circumstance was warranted, the 90-plus degree weather without adequate shade for students attending the celebration was not ideal. The grand opening included self-guided tours and presentations in the main lecture halls, with cold beverages and strong air conditioning for attendees after they spent 30 minutes sweating outside.

Before the new scoreboards and turf graced the field outside of the William H. Bell Center, the area was a white wasteland in the place where a baseball field would’ve been. With the renovations to the baseball field also came updates to the softball fields. Both facilities received new lighting, switched to artificial turf and welcomed improved dugouts and practice areas for the players. The baseball team couldn’t practice on campus last semester due to construction, but the new facilities will hopefully bring the team to new heights.

While students are away from classrooms this summer, major construction projects will be underway in preparation for the 2023-2024 school year. The Chapman Center is supposed to be finished by summer 2023, with updates to the building that will serve as home base for the Michael Neidorff School of Business. Some of the updates to the building will include technologically focused spaces that prioritize collaborative work between students.

In addition to the updates on upper campus, the transition from Aramark to Chartwells will bring renovations to Mabee Dining Hall. One of the main projects will be removing Steak ‘n Shake and replacing it with Breakfast and Co., a late-night option for students who want to have breakfast at any time.

To elevate the on-campus living experience for students, the university will undergo renovations to Bruce Thomas and Camille Lightner residence halls. In the first phase, updates will be made to improve the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems, as well as installing blinds in the bedrooms and redoing the bathrooms.

Thomas Residence Hall is famously known on campus to have had rat problems in the past, but with these new updates, hopefully, students will no longer have to live in fear of a rat standoff in their dorm.

It would be remiss to write about campus construction and fail to mention the constant pipe and water issues across campus. Last summer, the Calvert-Miller complex was completely dug up with exposed pipes and construction materials decorating the space. As a result, the complex smelled like sewage and was a bit of an eyesore for anybody walking by. This semester, on April 13, students received an email about late-night construction to expose a leak in the hot water pipe system near Calvert and Miller residence halls. The pipes are 10 feet below ground and encased in soft concrete and insulation, which is why it can take workers days to find the source of a leak.

The issues seem to have spread to upper campus as well, with the bathrooms in Coates Student Center being unusable from April 19 to April 23, and Einstein’s Bros. Bagels’ sudden closure on Friday, April 20. In addition to pipe problems in the student center, the Center for the Sciences and Innovation (CSI) has been a victim of pipe troubles that have caused sinks to be turned off to store chemical waste that was later disposed of.

Because Trinity was officially reclassified as a Baccalaureate Arts & Sciences institution (Liberal Arts) in January 2022, the school now falls under the National Liberal Arts category in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. In fall 2022, Trinity was ranked number 55 on the list, and hopes only to move up from there.

At the forefront of the changes in staff and buildings is Vanessa Beasley, Trinity’s newest president. On Feb. 11, Beasley was inaugurated as the first female president ever in Trinity’s long history. In her first year at Trinity, she has prided herself on being student-centered and involved in campus activities. Beasley attended a Creative Genius First-Year Experience class, among others, and made appearances at volleyball games, as well as the annual Martin Luther King Jr. March in January.

As time passes, it’s only natural that spaces on campus are renovated and new people are brought in to facilitate each wave of change on campus. As Trinity advances it’s also essential to ensure that the old facilities are still up to date to prevent further issues down the line.