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Wright Hall renovation headlines list of summer maintenance projects

A worker frames new walls in a Wright Hall room that was completely remodeled.

A worker frames new walls in a Wright Hall room that was completely remodeled.

When students return to Randolph next month, they’re likely to notice several changes on campus after what has been an especially busy summer for the College’s Buildings & Grounds Department.

Topping the list is the Wright Hall renovation, made possible by generous alumnae donations. When the 107-year-old dormitory’s 70-plus residents move in for fall semester, they will walk across refinished hardwood flooring to a newly installed elevator that will help them carry their belongings up the building’s five floors.

Inside the freshly painted walls of their rooms, residents can crank up the cool air using a new HVAC climate control system. After unpacking, they can clean themselves up in the dormitory’s remodeled restrooms, or wash their clothes in the new laundry rooms on the first and fourth floors. When classes begin, Wright Hall residents will be able to study online using the building’s improved WIFI capabilities in the comfort of their own rooms or while sitting on new furniture in lounge areas.

Workers tile one of the single-stall bathrooms.

Workers tile one of the single-stall bathrooms.

The building is being renovated to meet LEED Certification guidelines, meaning it will also be environmentally friendly. Efforts like this are part of the reason why the Princeton Review ranked Randolph among the top 50 “green” colleges in the nation earlier this year, and the project is part of the College’s focus on sustainability.

“It’s a modern convenience building, but it still has a traditional, historic feel,” said Scott Campbell, supervisor for maintenance and special projects.

More construction is taking place downstairs in Cheatham Dining Hall, where the second phase of a remodeling project is taking place. Students will find new tables and chairs both inside the cafeteria and in the outdoor dining area.

Both the Wright Hall and Cheatham Dining Hall projects have a target completion date of August 1.

“Summer is the time we do projects that we can’t do with the students here,” said John Leary, assistant director for maintenance and capital projects. “It’s just a busy time coordinating everything to make sure everything gets done on time.”

Other notable projects are taking place just down the brick pathway. In the Psychology Building, new hardwood flooring is being installed in the main floor entranceway, and adjacent offices are getting new carpet and a fresh paint job. Along with new furniture, the IT Department is helping to install new audio/video equipment in several Psychology Building and Leggett Building classrooms.

Down the hill, a new, professional grade dance floor was installed in the dance studio earlier this month. Air conditioning has also been installed in the dance studio and in the RAD Center’s Athletic Training room. Outside, a new venue for track and field competitive throwing events was constructed earlier this year, and work continues on a new bullpen for softball pitchers.

The first phase of a project to upgrade the campus’ electrical infrastructure has also begun, thanks to a $2 million anonymous gift to the College.

“Basically what’s happening is the electricity that was being delivered to campus was on a 4,160 kV line, and we’re upgrading from that to a 12,470 kV line,” said Leary. “It’ll have more capacity and new transformer switches to power the entire campus.”

The southeast corner of Wright Hall has a new interior secondary staircase with access to all floors.

The southeast corner of Wright Hall has a new interior secondary staircase with access to all floors.

Phase one will improve connectivity in Smith Hall, Wright Hall, Bell Hall, Cheatham Dining Hall, Webb Hall, Thoresen Hall, West Hall, Main Hall, and Houston Memorial Chapel.

“The updated electrical infrastructure will help us keep up with the ever-growing and ever-changing technological needs for students,” said Campbell. “There will be even more projects in the future, so stay tuned.”

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