This past summer, the college went through major renovations. The Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts opened its doors to the campus community after going through a major renovation that lasted an entire year.
The renovation plan was executed by Sano Rubin Construction Services; a construction company that was previously involved in building Garnet Commons a couple of years ago. According to the Director of Facilities and Planning, Loren Rucinski, the renovation of the Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts has been greatly appreciated by professors, staff members and students alike. The building has a fully functional welding shop as well as small studio spaces created throughout the building.
James Boggs ’18, shared, “One of my friends, being a Visual Arts major, transferred out of Union last spring due to the lack of art facilities on campus.
“However, after hearing about the revamping of the Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts, she transferred back to Union and is really appreciative of everything that the building has to offer so far.”
Rucinski further added, “We were on a very tight schedule throughout this past year, but luckily, we managed to complete the renovation of the Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts on time.”
The donation for the renovation came from the Feigenbaum Foundation. According to Rucinski, the cost of the entire project was $8 million in total.
Frank Bailey Field also went through renovation this past summer. All the rugs were replaced and the tracks were swapped. The contract for renovating Frank Bailey Field was given to the same company that worked on the soccer field located next to College Park Hall a few years ago. The cost of renovating Frank Bailey Field was approximately $1.2 million, according to Rucinski. The college puts away a small amount of money for such renovations every year. Rucinski also asserted that small scale repairs are taken care of by facilities itself, while big renovation projects are usually outsourced to different companies.
The swimming pool located inside the Alumni Gymnasium also went through a renovation this past summer. The pool saw completely revamped tiles and a lighting system installed. A dehumidification system was also installed in the facility.
According to Rucinski, Facilities is in charge of giving out bids to potential companies and architects for every project that is initiated on campus.
The budget for every project is settled ahead of time after a request is received by the Board of Trustees concerning a particular issue or facility on campus.
The Science and Engineering Center is also set to go through a major renovation. According to Rucinski, the Science and Engineering center needs to go through a major renovation soon, primarily because the building was built in 1968 and many of its systems and amenities are obsolete.
Rucinski further elaborated that the plans to renovate the building have not been approved by the Board of Trustees yet, but he’s hopeful that they will be soon.
Union’s own co-generation plant also started working this past summer. Mark Donovan, Assistant Director of Facilities, Utilities Management and Construction noted that the co-generation plant is something very innovative on Union’s part, and he believes that the college is going in the right direction. The plant, now in full use, has reduced carbon footprints in the college’s vicinity by 40 percent, which is a “great achievement,” said Donovan.
The college was lauded by National Geographic Channel recently, and was recognized as one of the few colleges in the nation for taking the initiative of investing in microgrids.
The plant is set to provide 75 percent of the campus’ electricity and nearly all of its heating and cooling. Rucinski and Donovan both stated, “Our goal here at Facilities is to ensure that all students receive the best college experience possible. And the only way we can do that is to provide world-class facilities.”
Renovation plans concerning both Reamer Campus Center and West Dining Hall have been slowed down because of their budgets’ being unbearable by the college for now. Rucinski noted that the college plans to consolidate both Upperclassmen Dining hall and West Dining Hall into one dining hall and to convert West Dining Hall into a social space for first-year students.
Samantha Kruzshak ’19, shared her thoughts on the small studios built throughout the Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts.
She said, “I never knew studio spaces could allow students, irrespective of their field of study, to _be motivated by different works of art and provide a true cross-departmental education.”