Campus construction completion anticipated for spring 2016

Washington Campus construction.
Washington Campus construction.

The Amarillo College Washington Street Campus broke ground this summer on a $3.47 million renovation project, and the results are expected to debut in spring 2016. The areas included in the project are the Lynn Library, the College Union Building and the outside mall common area between the library and College Union Building. Major changes to the campus include the gutting and renovation of the entire first floor of the Lynn Library, which upon completion will become a student commons area. The outside mall area will receive updated landscaping, a porch and seating changes to better accommodate students and staff. Plans for the entire second floor of the CUB will yield all new lighting and fixtures, and the location of some administrative offices will change. The project was approved by the board of regents in their January meeting, and construction began in July. Bruce Cotgreave, director of the physical plant, is in charge of the project and explained the changes. “We are renovating the whole first floor of the Lynn Library, the mall area between the library and the CUB and the complete second floor of the College Union Building,” Cotgreave said. Along with the new student commons area, students can expect new restrooms for men and women, new lighting and new fixtures to complement the new space on the first floor of the library. Cotgreave elaborated on additional changes that include a “smaller version of the Tutoring Center and a smaller version of the Career Center” that still will be available to students after the renovation. Wide open spaces and the addition of Wi-Fi charging stations in the library will transform the area into a “more comfortable area to study, to collaborate with students,” Cotgreave said. The outside mall area will receive updates to its seating arrangements and a wider porch for student to pass through the area. Previous AC students familiar with the mall area will recall the old system and exposed aggregate flooring. According to Cotgreave, the area was chipping away and at times was a tripping hazard. Updates to the flooring will make the area safer and easier to maintain. The changes to the outside mall area “will be more attractive and conducive to where you can actually have conversations,” Cot­greave said. Although students on the Washington Street Campus are aware of the ongoing construction, some of them said they were unaware of any specifics. Former students said they were mostly unaffected by the ongoing construction. However, some students new to the campus mentioned different experiences. Brayden Murphy, a general studies major, found navigating the construction a brief hassle. “At first it was an inconvenience because I didn’t realize that you could cut through the CUB and then go to the bookstore through there,” Murphy said. “It’s going to get better for everyone.” While the project may create a bit of a hassle, the result might exceed expectations. Tristen Tijerina, an engineering major, sees the project with a positive attitude. “If you do look at it as renovating, they are improving our college for us,” Tijerina said. “It shows that the school appreciates us as well.” Some students were not surprised at the $3.47 million cost of the project. Some said that once they were informed of the project specifics, they had a better understanding and justification of the cost. “It sounds like a lot of money, but it sounds like a lot is getting done, too,” said Alec Banbury, a general studies major. It’s expected to reap benefits from the project once completed. More restrooms, updated HVAC systems, deck insulation, new windows, lights, fixtures and other updates will serve not only to make the campus look better, but the changes will “reduce utility costs and save money,” said Cotgreave, so “money can be used for other things.” With the overall project completion not expected to be finished for several months, the construction has been successful so far. According to Cotgreave, minor changes have set renovations in the CUB back a few weeks, but the library is one to two months ahead of planned schedule.

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