By Olivia Koravos
On Tuesday, Apr. 2 2019, Capital Planning and Maintenance held an Open House that showcased the newly renovated first and ground floors of Percival Hall. The construction that had been going on since May 2018 finally came to fruition, and specifically involved replacing an auditorium with two “Case Study Classrooms, and two multipurpose classrooms.” In addition to these new classrooms, the ground-level space was also renovated, where the business department offices are.
Douglas Thomas, Director of Capital Planning and Maintenance talked about who these classrooms will be for. “While the ground-floor houses the business department offices, these classrooms are open to all departments. Whoever can utilize them are open to. You can have up to 49 students in these new case study classrooms.”
Large, complex projects like this one take a great deal of planning and detail. Design, bidding, award, construction, and then closing out are all components that make up building projects. In terms of renovations, they are often broken apart into pieces and parts because of budgetary reasons. The goal, though, is always to completely renovate spaces that could use updating on campus.
Thomas commented on how safety is always a big part of the construction process. For instance, there have been other building phases of Percival Hall that have included the addition of an elevator and improving fire detection and fire suppression. In terms of the very latest renovations, Thomas commented that “The auditorium was getting tired and this was an opportunity to programmatically look at it.”
With large projects such as this one, unexpected obstacles and challenges are always a possibility. Capital Planning and Maintenance prides themselves on doing a great deal of exploratory work, and keeping lessons learned from previous phases in mind. Thomas stated that, “The biggest obstacle was the logistics part. Having to update the stairwell while the building was still open for classes. Just like the rest of our renovations, we never really shut down- we don’t take buildings offline. We have to, just like all of our other work, find ways to do fully occupied renovations.”
The cost of this renovation was approximately $2.5 million dollars. While aesthetics played a large role, so did the additions of energy efficient components. Sound attenuation panels, layout, and natural as well as LED lighting are now in the new classrooms. Capital Planning and Maintenance always strives for natural lighting as much as possible. There is a great deal of planning and strategy that go into the design process and it truly is all about investments.
Thomas believes that each renovation brings a higher level of satisfaction in learning. These environments are enhanced for the benefit of the students, professors, and all who venture into them. “There are so many wonderful things we do every year that a lot of people don’t necessarily know about. I think it’s good for people to get up, walk around, and see [what’s been worked on].”
Members of the FSU community are welcome to check out these new renovations on campus. For any additional inquiries, Capital Planning and Maintenance can be contacted at 978-665-3115.