In an email to faculty last week, President Stephen Standifird announced that Bradley was awarded a capital grant of more than $14.8 million from the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
The grant money will be used to renovate laboratories and equipment in Olin Hall as well as remodel the Williams Dining Hall. Both projects will have a high student impact in the future.
The Olin Hall project, expected to begin in the summer of 2024, is long overdue, as the last renovation was in 2002. With over 2,500 students registering for lab courses in the previous academic year, there is obvious demand for upgrades that will enhance safety and work quality. The fact that funds are being used for this project shows the university’s initiative and dedication to observing the needs of students.
As for the Williams Dining Hall, the project is not expected to start until the summer of 2025. While this upgrade seems so far away, there is still a lot to look forward to when the construction begins.
This renovation can significantly change students’ dining experience. Two of the most important changes being made to the dining hall include an allergen specific space and making the hall fully ADA accessible.
Having an allergen specific space will help students with minor or severe food allergies feel safe and acknowledged while eating in a public dining space. It can hopefully eliminate instances of cross contamination in food preparation and serving.
While the PUSH initiative on campus has helped make Bradley more accessible, there are still a lot of spaces that can be improved. Plans to make a popular dining hall more accessible is a step in the right direction to supporting students with disabilities and those who are temporarily disabled due to an injury.
Overall, Bradley’s capital grant projects are highly beneficial to the university, faculty and students. The scheduled renovations will positively impact a large population of students and show the consideration the administration put into using the funds based on student opinions and educational needs.