Seton Hill University (SHU) has been in the process of many renovations and construction plans.
In fall of 2015, SHU opened the doors to the new arts building and the JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center. In spring of 2016, SHU began the transition to the Barnes and Noble bookstore and completed renovations to the store over fall break.
“It’s like a domino effect; you see a vision but you can’t accomplish it until these other things happen,” said Charmaine Strong, dean of students at SHU. “We wanted to make the changes needed to make the dominos start to fall.”
As part of this domino effect, SHU is constantly looking for ways to make use of the available spaces on campus. One opportunity was the vacated clay studio located outside of Maura Hall. This space became available when the studio moved to the new arts building.
“The old clay studio is such a central, visible location. It seemed that it would be good use of that space,” said Strong.
She said that SHU President Mary Finger tried to meet with as many students, staff and faculty members across campus. From this, SHU gathered that the number one request from students was more study and lounge space.
Spaces on campus, like Reeves Learning Commons, have become very popular gathering and study spaces for students. Strong said that prior to Reeves transformation from the library, the space wasn’t getting much use. Once it became an open study area, students used it more and more.
“Construction began in August and is set to finish on Oct. 20,” said Dave Dobbin, the project superintendent. “The project will then be handed over to the university and they will need to obtain an occupancy permit before it can be opened to students.”
The lounge will provide another seating area for students to gather and study. The room will include a counter with stools as well as other tables and chairs. Construction of the new space also includes addition of bathrooms.
“Once it’s ready we’ll probably have it open and then plan a grand opening,” said Strong. “Then student government will run a campus-wide naming contest.”
Contests like this have been done in the past. A naming contest was responsible for SHU’s mascot, the Griffin.
“We’re always looking for ways to meet the students’ needs,” said Strong. “There are currently plans for renovating Lowe Dining Hall.”