By JENNA GIBSON
After ten years, the construction on the Washington Campus has come to an end. The Ware Student Commons, formerly known as the Lynn Library, the second floor of the CUB and the mall area are now brand new and construction-free.
What most students and faculty have viewed as a caution-taped obstacle on their way to class actually started as a bond project in December 2006.
Bruce Cotgreave, director of the physical plant, has worked closely with these projects and has overseen the construction.
“We, in the Physical Plant, have been working on bond projects for the past, almost, ten years,” said Cotgreave. “It has been a real joy to watch the transformation of our campuses into modern state-of-the-art facilities. Facilities that are attractive and meet the needs of students and faculty. Areas that attract students but are conducive for study and interaction with other students.” The newly designed Ware Student Commons was named after the Ware family, who own Amarillo National Bank. The longtime benefactors of AC and the Amarillo community donated $1 million to help with this project.
The Natalie Buckthal Tutoring Center within the Ware Student Commons was donated by the W.P. Buckthal family. It was named in honor of Natalie Buckthal, a longtime member of the AC faculty. Buckthal also served on the AC Foundation board.
The newly reconstructed mall area between the College Union Building and Ware Student Commons has been named the Oeschger Family Mall thanks to a donation from Larry and Sharon Oeschger. Sharon Oeschger served three terms on the AC Board of Regents and as a chair on the AC Foundation Board. “I think it looks amazing,” said Semet Sabri, a social work major. “It turned out really, really good.”
“It looks a lot better. I like all the room that you can walk around in,” said, Evelynn Gleaves, a biology major.
According to Cotgreave, all of these projects were completed on time and within budget. “Through the past 10 years we never missed a deadline. All classes started at the beginning of the semester according to schedule,” he said.
“There was a great deal of scheduling involved to insure that buildings were vacated on time, that staff and faculty were relocated to temporary facilities that had appropriate internet and electrical systems that met the needs of students and faculty,” said Cotgreave. One new edition to the Ware Student Commons is the Advocacy and Resource Center. Jordan Herrera, director of social services, manages the Center, which includes the adult students program, the AC food pantry and the AC clothing closet.
“The opening of the Advocacy and Resource Center is very exciting because it will allow our students the opportunity to receive assistance in one centralized location,” Herrera said. “This will save time because students will no longer have to walk from building to building to receive assistance,” she added. Cotgreave said that benches have been ordered for the mall area and should arrive near the end of September. A new tree and landscaping are already in place. Inside the Ware Student Commons, tables and chairs create gathering places for students. The goal is to create an area for students to socialize, study or simply relax between classes.