What’s new at Eastern

With a summer full of proposed campus changes and renovations, several projects have been completed, while others remain in their earliest stages.

After years of student frustration over the limited hours offered at the fitness center, the athletic department and security office have installed a new e-card access system in time for the fall semester.

“It’s up and just being slightly fine-tuned,” Athletic Director Mark Wagner said.

To obtain e-card access, students must first complete a form. Paperwork can be picked up at the fitness center or from Mimi VanBueren at the e-card office, located on the second floor of Walton.

Once a form is filled out and mailed or dropped off with VanBueren, there is a 72-hour processing phase before the e-card is approved for access, Assistant Athletic Director Ryan Livingston said. Students are advised to test their card to find out when it is cleared.

The system operates on a buddy system, Wagner said. To use the fitness center, students must arrive with a partner, who is also approved for e-card access, and scan their cards together.

Security installed two video cameras at opposite ends of the fitness center to insure “both security and safety,” Wagner said.

During specific times throughout the day, student workers will oversee entrance into the fitness center through the rec gym entrance, as was done in the past. Those hours, as well as hours for e-card access, are still in discussion. Once decided on, the hours will be clearly posted and athletics will send out a community email.

“It’s an honor system to a large degree,” Wagner said. “It hinges on the ability of students to self monitor that space.”

If students respect the new system, Wagner said that the hours could change. Vice versa, if the new flexibility is abused, hours may be reduced and stricter rules enforced.

The Breezeway

The Breezeway Café, located in Guffin Hall, is being expanded to offer more seating and waiting area.

One of Eastern’s popular eateries, the Breezeway Café is typically crowded with hungry college students. A similar problem exists with the Dining Commons, a place the student population has seemed to have outgrown.

With the new expansion, the Breezeway Café will become a more comfortable place to eat and hang out.

Although originally scheduled for completion over the summer, Carl Altomare, executive director of campus services, said construction was slightly delayed until Radnor Township approved of the plans. Construction is currently underway and will hopefully be completed in early November. Blueprints of the new space are on display.

While under construction, the entrance facing Olsen field will be closed but the Breezeway still plans to be open for business.

Cushing Center for Counseling and Academic Support

In the 2007 fall semester, the Waltonian published a story announcing the future renovation to the Writing and Tutor Center in the Cushing Center for Counseling and Academic Support, thanks to a generous donation from Kelly Wilbraham nee Van Der Aa. The renovations are nearly complete, and the room could not look any better.

The Writing Center in room 205 was noticeably updated, including a fresh coat of paint, new carpeting and new lighting. Soundproofing techniques were used to quiet the amount of noise produced in the room, and new monitors for the computers will be coming soon. There is also talk of the addition of a Kurzweil Reader, a machine that translates written words into speech.

Finally, another testing room was added in the back hallway near Dr. Thelma Lunsford-Gray’s office, and the reception area for CCAS was expanded to include windows.

According to Dr. Lisa Hemlick, director of CCAS, all the rooms that were renovated were chosen based on whether or not they were used by students, especially students with learning disabilities. Thanks to the work of Larissa McShane and Associates, an interior design company from Wayne, the money from the donation was maximized to cover all of the changes.

Hemlick hopes that the changes made to CCAS will make the area more attractive and inviting to Eastern’s students.

“All students who use our services will hopefully benefit from the changes,” Hemlick said.

A grand opening of the new CCAS will occur early in the semester.

Mayer Property

Last December, Eastern received the estate of Dr. Henry Mayer, a beautiful two-story house that fills the space between Kea Hall and Fenimore Park. Until now, it has been unclear who will get to use the property.

According to an email statement from Senior Vice President Tom Ridington, the first floor of the Mayer property will contain the alumni relations and university marketing offices, as well as hospitality spaces, including a sitting area and sunroom.

The second floor will house the administrative computing offices, while the garage will host the academic computing offices, a workroom and storage. A stand-alone structure in the back of the property will hold the university data center.

While nothing has been decided, the plans are still in discussion and will hopefully be implemented sometime in 2009.

“There are still quite a bit of renovations to be done before anyone moves in,” Vice President for Development Derek Ritchie said.

Executive Director of Campus Services Carl Altomare has stated that a road connecting Kea Hall’s parking lot to the Mayer property was proposed but not yet confirmed by the township.

Despite the tentativeness of the situation, the departments that could be moving are excited to hear the news.

In addition, several paths and bridges across campus were redone for increased safety. The Walton terrace, located by the pond, also underwent a huge renovation to liven it up.

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