Space at Eastern always seems to be a problem. Whether it’s dorm space, parking space, classroom space or building space, there just never seems to be enough of it.
However, a new plan to expand some of Eastern’s existing buildings aims to give students more space to accommodate the campus’ steady growth.
“The areas of greatest growth have been the performing arts and the sciences,” University President Dr. David Black said. “Music and Dance have outgrown the spaces where those disciplines are taught.”
Music is squeezed in Workman’s tiny rooms, while Dance has only one room in the gym. In addition, many students feel that Walton is not very functional as a student center.
“Our studied conclusion is our students could really benefit from the construction of a new student center,” Dr. Black said. This means that Dance would be moved to the Dining Commons and Music would have all the rooms in Walton.
The science department is also cramped for space.
“Although we’ve provided students with the appropriate equipment, our laboratories themselves need to be expanded and modernized,” Dr. Black said. “So, we are planning an addition to McInnis for science labs.”
In addition, a small recital hall that seats about 200 people will be added, providing a more adequate space for performances.
Even the gym will be getting a makeover. The main gym will be used for intramural games and the rec gym will become a fitness center.
“The space where we gather for chapel, graduations and athletic events has only about 400 bleacher seats when 1200 students live here,” Dr. Black said. “So we think it wise to build a larger space for varsity events and gatherings for worship and graduation.”
Eastern’s Student Government Association and the faculty advocate these changes.
“We all live with an awareness that these changes are important… and administrators have agreed and worked to find the funding for the development of the facilities,” Dr. Black said. “We’ve raised somewhere between one-third and one-fourth of what we need.”
The hope is that the process will be finished within a five to seven year time frame. First, the master plan must be submitted to Radnor Township. Then each individual project must be presented in detail as it unfolds.
The new student center is the first building to be proposed.
Hopefully, these changes will give Eastern students more room to learn and grow. “It will just be a happier place,” Dr. Black said. “We won’t be as compressed.”