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It’s Summer, Which Means It’s Campus Construction Season

Several construction and renovation projects are under way on the Alma campus. When completed, students will have access to new high-tech academic space in the Dow Science Center and improved student housing options.

<em>A crane lifts materials into the Dow Science Center courtyard.</em>A crane lifts materials into the Dow Science Center courtyard.

Students may be on summer break, but the Alma College campus remains busy with numerous campus improvement activities.

Construction and renovation projects totaling more than $6 million are proceeding on the Alma campus. When completed, students will have access to new high-tech academic space in the Dow Science Center and improved student housing options.

“Summer is typically an ideal time to focus on construction and improvement projects, and this summer is no exception with a cross section of projects that address strategic priorities for learning and student life,” says Jeff Abernathy, Alma College president.

<em>Dow Science Center construction</em>Dow Science Center construction“As the college grows and invests in campus improvements, the entire Alma community benefits,” he says. “I’m pleased that all of this summer’s contracted work is being done by Michigan companies, and that we have spent more than $1 million with local contractors.”

Work began this month on renovations totaling $2 million to the Dow Science Center. The project involves the conversion of an open-air courtyard to new academic space for science instruction and research. Two interior floors will be constructed — a 2,584-square-foot lower level and a 1,872-square-foot upper level that looks down over the building’s main lobby.

Located within this space will be the Dow Digital Science Center, which will provide a research laboratory for students and faculty to analyze environmental data acquired through remote sensors. This space also supports collaboration between Alma’s science faculty and local public school teachers in K-12 science classes throughout central Michigan. The construction project is expected to continue through the fall, with estimated completion by January 2018.

<em>Gelston Hall construction</em>Gelston Hall constructionThe renovation of the main lobby and west wing of Gelston Hall, Alma’s oldest student residence, includes major interior improvements in the same style as were completed in the north and east wings during the summers of 2014 and 2015. The $3 million project includes new bathroom and shower facilities, energy-efficient windows, upgraded electrical systems and furniture. The project will be completed in time for fall occupancy.

This is the final phase of a three-year remodeling program designed to renovate Gelston Hall for the 21st century. When completed, Gelston Hall will house 229 students. In addition, improvements to several other student residences are under way, preparing the campus for another large incoming class this fall.

<em>Zeta Sigma House</em>Zeta Sigma HouseConstruction of the $1.4 million Zeta Sigma Scholar House, located on the corner of Superior Street and Grant Avenue, will be completed in time for fall occupancy. The 5,985-square-foot two-story residence can house up to 16 occupants. Founded in 1887, Zeta Sigma was Alma’s first fraternity.

Story published on July 14, 2017