Campus construction updates

AUDREY JOHNSON, Diorama Executive Editor

 Construction at Harrison Plaza has begun to prepare for the new fountain after a portion of the original fountain’s lower bowl collapsed on Dec. 2019. The Board of Trustees approved renovations for the entire plaza, including the installation of the new fountain.

Currently, container ships are carrying the new fountain across the Atlantic Ocean to Mobile, Ala. Weather permitting, the fountain should arrive in the country within the next 10 to 15 days. This time, the fountain is made of marble instead of Italian limestone; it was manufactured in Vicenza, Italy, by the same company that produced the original fountain.

“Hopefully we can have the fountain running around Thanksgiving,” said Assistant Vice President for Facilities Administration and Planning Micheal Gautney. “And the remainder of the Plaza work will occur around after Thanksgiving between there and Christmas.”


After installing the new fountain and opening Laura M. Harrison Hall, the nursing building, LaGrange Hall will undergo renovations. Resolutions for final designs will be submitted at the next Board of Trustees meeting.

“There will be an exterior breezeway that will be constructed through the center of LaGrange,” Gautney said. “So you’ll have access from what we call the north side of LaGrange through the building to the south side of LaGrange.”

The breezeway will connect the residential side of campus to the academic side. Construction will move the stairs to line up with Ophler Clock, and they will build a patio area outside the hall.


The energy conservation project in partnership with Schneider Electric worked to improve energy efficiency and sustainability on campus this summer.

According to the numbers on their website, they’ve installed 44,533 new lights, added 237,258 trees, removed 1,243 cars and impacted 70 buildings on campus.

So far, lights across campus have been changed to LEDs and HVAC control systems are undergoing upgrades. The project replaced most of the air conditioning in the GUC and all air handler units in Flowers Hall. Keller Hall, Rice Hall and Rivers hall all received new cooling chillers. Rice and Rivers also received a new cooling tower.

“There’s already been some major improvements on campus with what we’ve done thus far,” Gautney said. “There’s probably two million points that we’re trying to program for all the different parts and pieces of controls on campus, and we’re working through those. We have a team of people that’s doing that.”

Gautney estimated the anticipated savings in energy costs total around $800,000 per year. Overtime, this project pays for itself. He anticipates the project will continue its improvements through Feb.