The new semester brings a new look and feel to Wesleyan’s historic campus. Improvements began to take shape in the spring. And continued throughout the summer.
Crews have renovated residence halls, added dining choices and upgraded elevators. And restricted access to resident parking is imminent.
Brian Franks, the newly appointed executive director of facilities development and operations, said OC and Elizabeth Armstrong Halls have undergone changes, including replacing the original 1950s air-conditioning equipment, ceilings, paint, shower enclosures, shower heads, light fixtures and switches.
Other modernizations include new vanities, countertops, sinks and faucets, flooring with fabricated marble thresholds and commodes.
In addition to cosmetic upgrades, Franks said crews have installed new electrical wiring and switchgear. “That’s the behind the scenes stuff that makes the electricity more reliable,” he said. So, when you plug stuff in, you don’t have to worry about it tripping breakers.”
Vanity areas have new GIF outlets, which may reduce the chances of shock in the event of an untimely blow dryer slip.
Still, changes were not exclusive to dorm rooms and behind the scenes upgrades.
“In the common areas, you can see the new style of [light] fixture,” Franks said. “These are actually indirect/direct lights. So it’s a lot better for your computers and reading. You won’t have that direct glare.”
In kitchen areas, students will return to new ovens, microwaves and refrigerators.
Meanwhile, renovations to Dora’s did not go as planned. Pati Alexander, vice president of enrollment and student services, said in an email that problems were discovered at the café, which have postponed its reopening.
Consequently, Wesleyan officials are working with Aramark, which provides meal services, to offer supplementary dining.
“The Sub will offer Aramark’s full variety of food stations, offerings and selections — the same variety of hot and cold options, including salad, sandwiches, pasta, and ice cream that Dora’s [offered],” Alexander said.
Additionally, West Express, located in the Baker Builder, will offer students taco and burrito selections with sides and toppings, a build-your-own pizza station and a variety of prepared salads and on-the-go snacks.
While Dora’s is still under construction, Aramark employees have full access to its kitchen. Thus, some foods will be transported to The Sub and other serving areas.
Aramark food service director, William Timmerman said, “We can feed people.”
Timmerman also discredited rumors of mold and infestations as reasons behind the café renovation delay.
While Dora’s isn’t expected to open in the fall, Darren White, director of marketing and communications, said the supplement dining locations will provide “a better dining experience.”
And experiences have their ups and downs, especially in elevators. Elevators in Ella A. McFadden, School of Business, Oneal-Sells Administration Building and Polytechnic United Methodist Church have been upgraded.
Although initial revamps of PUMC’s elevator, which had entrapped at least one professor, were not triumphant.
“For a while there, you’d push down to go up,” said Elijah Cumpton, chaplain’s secretary.
But that issue seems to have been resolved. And Ashley Coen, administrative assistant for the department of social sciences, said the elevator experience in PUMC has improved.
“It’s smoother,” she said. “Before, whenever [the elevator] started, it was jumpy. Now it’s very gradual and nice.”
Some Rams agree with Coen’s sentiments of gradual and nice regarding the campus improvements while some do not.
Jordon Bowden wrote on The Rambler’s Facebook page: “Elevators are the greatest technological advancement in 2014. I’m thoroughly impressed by how Wesleyan has been able to utilize them. [P.S.] I can’t stress enough how much I hate expending energy.”
Whereas a comment from Fahad Al Ghussein reads, “I lost my appetite for the whole semester already.”