By Sarah Carlson, Arts Editor
The university’s 100th year will see more than memorabilia, a new residence hall and countless balloons and confetti squares. Physical Resources is preparing several construction projects for the campus to enhance the appearance and atmosphere of the school, said Bob Nevill, director of Physical Resources, in an e-mail.
“One of our ACU goals is to create an atmosphere of grace and beauty, which will result in an enhanced learning environment, social accommodation and spiritual growth,” Nevill said. “All the work we do here is focused on these objectives.”
Projects range from the new exercise track along the perimeter of campus, three corner signs placed at intersections around campus, the renovation of Burford Music Hall, the pecan orchard and berm construction along Judge Ely Boulevard, the new Welcome/Alumni Center and the remodeling of the main floor of Brown Library.
Construction on the walk/jog trail began three weeks ago with the demolition of the sidewalk along the east side of Campus Court and should be completed in late November, barring severe weather or other unexpected events, Nevill said. The trail will have pole lights every 80 feet and emergency call boxes along the route.
Physical Resources has already purchased the 140 pecan trees to be planted along Judge Ely, and workers will plant them along the already completed berm during the winter.
Designs for three corner signs around campus, similar to the stone arched walls etched with the words Abilene Christian University at the main entrance on Judge Ely, have been completed. The signs are proposed for the intersections of Ambler Avenue and Judge Ely; Campus Court and Ambler; and Judge Ely and East North 16th Street. Once funding is secured, construction will begin said Kevin Watson, associate vice president for administrative services, in an e-mail.
Watson said the purpose of the signs is “to define the campus so our guests and others can easily identify where we are,” and “it also sets the corners up for additional landscape work.”
Other campus improvement projects include the Jacob’s Dream Sculpture, created by Jack Maxwell, chair of the Art Department. The sculpture will be between the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies and Mabee Business buildings and has been molded and is moving to the casting stage, with an anticipated unveiling in the fall of 2006. The Learning Commons construction in Brown Library is projected to begin Sept. 1, and should be completed by Dec. 1.
The ACU Credit Union, Sewell Theatre and Nelson and McKinzie Halls were all renovated during the summer.
Nevill said renovation and reconstruction are a part of the university’s annual process to update and improve campus facilities. A long-range plan exists for renovation of campus facilities that considers the expected useful life of the assets to be replaced or improved, as well as the available budget, he said.
“This has been developed as a general guide and is sometimes changed to meet unforeseen needs,” Nevill said. “It may appear more dramatic this year with the construction of Barret Hall and some of the Centennial activities.
“ACU is a significant part of the Abilene community and a partner with the community in presenting the best possible face for our city and area. The Centennial year is a milestone that affords us the opportunity to remember our past and purpose; we celebrate this event by creating things that remind [us] of our history, our mission, and guide us toward the future.”