Campus facelift progresses

Bradley spends $4.5 million on Williams, Markin Center to open in mid-October.

The Markin Family Student Recreation Center is set to open on schedule in mid-October after a significant amount of work was done over the summer.

“When we get to this last construction project [with the Markin Center], it’s quite a dynamic environment,” Planning Supervisor Kim Green said. “Everyone is really pushing to meet those dates.”

Green said the center’s infrastructure, including the plumbing and wiring, and the building’s physical structure are finished. A lot of the work that is left is “finish work,” she said.

“Now it is a matter of putting the finishing touches in place from the tiles in the pool and the bathrooms to the drywall and the paint,” she said.

The new parking deck on Main Street was completed over the summer, and students were able to begin using it on the first day of classes.

Green said the university had to gain an amendment from the city of Peoria after building the parking deck too close to Main.

 “It was discovered that the layout was incorrect on the site and that’s when the process started on working with the city and the neighborhood to come to an agreeable solution,” Green said.

She said the university improved the aesthetics of the street by adding a terraced area with more landscaping and decorative concrete.

Junior administration of criminal justice major Cameron Garrett said he thinks the parking deck is convenient for students who commute.

He said he has noticed parking on campus is less crowded than before the deck was open.

“By the time this stuff is done, I’ll be graduating,” Garrett said. “So it’s really the young people who are coming in who are going to be benefiting from it.”

Garrett said he thinks it’s great the university is upgrading its facilities and is particularly excited about using the new pool.

Facilities Management Director Ron Doerzaph said the east side of Williams Hall was renovated over the summer. Renovations included the addition of new furniture, lighting, paint and floors and carpeting.

All renovations to Williams will cost  $4,500,000.

Doerzaph said the west side and the lobby of Williams will be renovated next summer.

“We could only do one side because it’s a big building and there was a lot of work to be done,” he said.

The university also added two handicapped rooms on the second floor and widened the doors of all rooms to allow students in wheelchairs easier access.

Doerzaph was unable to say when Heitz Hall will receive renovations. He said it is a more complicated building and is also not used as much as Williams over the summer.

A new sprinkler system was also installed in Williams. Doerzaph said all dorms have to have updated sprinkler systems by 2013.

The university is also working on laying the foundation for the Athletic Performance Area, which is expected to open in March 2010.

Green said the university is now doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work and design for the Westlake Hall renovations and the new Alumni Center.

“We’re still early on in that process,” she said.