Capital University will invest more than $3.8 million in capital improvements — annual investments that increase the value and efficiency of our environments, structures and systems — in support of the University’s mission this year. Improvement projects will impact technology, safety, classrooms, labs, residence halls, historic campus buildings, energy efficiency and aesthetics. Summer improvement projects are well under way.
“We always keep an aggressive project schedule in the summer so campus looks its best when students return in the fall,” Beth Anne Carman, director of Facilities Management, said.
Demolition and construction began before students left for the summer and will continue until just days before they return in August. Among the more visible projects taking place this summer are improvements to Harry C. Moores Campus Center — the effective campus living room for students in Bexley — and Kerns Religious Life Center, one of Capital’s most historic buildings.
When they return this fall, students no longer will walk into the “Post Office Lobby” of the campus center. In fact, if the building’s exterior didn’t remind them, visitors surely would wonder if they were in the same place. Based on input garnered from half a dozen focus groups and creative sessions with students, Student Affairs leaders and architects last spring, the main floor and lower level have been re-imagined, gutted and rebuilt.
Student mailboxes and the post office have been moved to make room for a modern, vibrant student work and gathering space designed to serve the commuter and residential student equally well. Walls have been moved, new frames constructed and new concepts implemented to create a comfortable, useful and flexible environment with an open-flow concept.
Entering the building from the northwest doors, you’ll discover a computer and lounge space to the left — where the post office used to be — with new furniture, flooring and finishes, new technology and computer access, high-definition TVs and other amenities. Walk straight ahead and you’ll be greeted by a huge, colorful, organized display of university, student organization and building events, which will connect you with the information you need to engage in campus life.
Slightly to the right, you’ll be introduced to an expanded, modernized restaurant and new coffee bar with tables, chairs, booths and lighting reflective of what you’d find at popular Main Street eateries.
The entryway for the Multicultural Affairs Office also is nearby, and there’s a new interactive wall that invites students from other countries, as well as Capital students studying abroad, to put Capital on the map and create a visual representation of the connections between the University, its students and the world.
Schneider Multipurpose Room has expanded into the former Schneider Lounge, with a built-in mobile partition added to break up the space to accommodate small-group meetings, focus groups or brainstorming sessions.
The post office can now be found in the building’s lower level. Student Government offices also will be relocated to the lower level, where they will be expanded and combined with the offices of Activities Management and Planning to create a collaborative shared workspace. The bowling alley has been removed, the University Theatre set-building shop expanded, and the former recreation center reconfigured into the mailroom. Construction is expected to be complete by the start of fall classes.
Kerns Foundation Repairs
It’s not every day you get to see, let alone hold and analyze, the very foundation of a c. 1914 building whose history so symbolizes the foundation of Capital University. But that’s exactly what Associate Provost Terry Lahm, a geologist, was able to do when the foundation of Kerns Religious Life Center, originally named the Rudolph Memorial Library — the first library established solely to support the College independent of the Seminary — was excavated for an engineering study and repairs. Read a quick synopsis of what Dr. Lahm discovered.
The library-turned-life-center for matters of faith, learning, religion and philosophy was excavated so construction crews could make repairs recommended by an engineer’s study of the foundation’s integrity. Past repairs included masonry tuckpointing and, this summer, installing a modern drainage and waterproofing system.
Construction crews dug a four-by-four trench around the building, unearthing original clay pipes and other relics whose functionality has given way to nearly a century of use, building additions and decay. After engineers determined the foundation was stable and construction crews made the recommended repairs, a multilayer waterproofing system was installed, essentially wrapping the underground portion of the building in a seamless, watertight sheath. Then they dug three-and-a-half-foot window wells by building frames, pouring footers and molding concrete to match the architectural character of the structure. Drains and gravel were installed in each well to pull water away from the foundation and prevent infiltration, improve indoor air quality and lessen humidity levels indoors.
The project is expected to be complete in July. An independent environmental firm will conduct air quality tests throughout the month and, pending consistent healthy reports, the building’s lower level and first floor will be re-opened this fall. Worship services and other activities also are expected to return to Kable Chapel this fall.
Apartment-Style Student Housing
Responding to a growing demand among students for apartment-style campus housing, the University is upgrading and converting two Sheridan Avenue houses — 713/713 ½ and 719/721 — acquired in January into student apartments. This will add 16 beds to Capital’s student housing supply and increase apartment-style living offerings. The University also will repair original slate roofs on properties at 651, 701 and 707 Sheridan Avenue and replace original single-pane windows with safer, more energy efficient double-pane windows.
Capital Commons residents will benefit from newly installed exterior doors, which are safer and more attractive. All of these improvements will continue to make the perimeter campus housing areas safer, more secure and more comfortable for the student residents. Work should be complete in time for students’ return this fall.
Lohman Hall Roof Replacement
The roof on Lohman Hall, Capital’s largest residence hall, is aging and insulation is inefficient. The roof is being replaced with material similar to that used on Huber-Spielman. The new roof will have two layers of insulation lending enhanced efficiency for heat loss and temperature control, as well as weatherproofing. A white single-ply PVC material, which reflects the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere instead of absorbing it, is a sustainable design solution that helps to mitigate the “heat island effect.” The eight-week project is under way and expected to be complete by fall.
Saylor-Ackermann Electrical Upgrade and Structural Repair
The University will upgrade the electrical system supporting Saylor-Ackermann and Troutman halls. The new system will eliminate the need for separate equipment to support Troutman, reduce cost and better meet the needs of today’s students.
Eight steel floor joists supporting the first floor of the Ackermann wing also will be replaced. The joists deteriorated from water damage over the years. Any needed repairs to nearby plumbing pipes also will be addressed. Work has begun and should be finished later this summer.
Exterior Building Lighting
To enhance safety and reduce repair and energy costs, Capital has replaced exterior lighting in the Pleasant Ridge Avenue parking lot and at Lohman, Saylor-Ackermann and Mees halls. The University also upgraded 14 lights in the parking lot south of The Capital Center. The new LED fixtures produce a brighter, cleaner light, dramatically improving light levels on the ground to make campus safer. They also significantly reduce energy consumption. Additional lighting upgrades are planned for outside of Schaaf Hall.
- Parking lots — Capital is in the fourth year of a five-year plan for parking lot repair and maintenance. Parking lot conditions have improved significantly. This summer, crews will repave the south third of the parking lot south of The Capital Center on the east side of Pleasant Ridge Avenue, as well as the lot between Loy and Renner halls. The remaining lots on campus will be sealed, patched and re-striped as scheduled in the five-year plan.
- Campus Center field – The soccer field located on Astor Avenue south of the Campus Center was re-crowned in May. Landscapers replaced the turf and made necessary irrigation repairs to increase usability and student safety by creating a smooth, well-drained surface for practice, performance, play and competition.
- Carpet replacement – Carpet in the first floor offices and lower level corridors of Yochum Hall was replaced last spring. In keeping with campus wide standards, new carpet tile replaced damaged and worn broadloom carpet in visible public areas of the building as well, including the seating area outside of the Student Services Center and walk-off tiles in entryways. The lower level corridors were repainted to complete the fresh new look.
- Maintenance and renewal – The Office of Facilities Management will undertake several maintenance and capital renewal tasks during summer, including painting select common spaces, residential housing repairs, landscape improvements, masonry cleaning at Mees Hall, and various infrastructure repairs related to plumbing and steam distribution systems.