CSU Construction, Renovation Accommodate Students, Visitors

COLUMBUS, Ga, - As fall semester nears, construction crews are working feverishly around Columbus State to finish some major projects before students return.

Road construction to ease campus navigation and a new-look Schwob Library, with a coffee-snack bar and expanded-refurnished computer and study areas, will greet students and visitors as fall classes start Aug. 17.

Remodeling of the Schwob Library first-floor will yield a satellite Einstein Bros. Bagel Shop to occupy the former reading room to the immediate right of the main entrance. An adjoining lounge and study area will complete the coffee bar setting and extend toward an information commons expanded to accommodate 60 computer workstations, up from 28.

Additionally, workers are developing the mezzanine floor space above the administrative offices as space for study, and a library classroom will occupy the former newsstand area.

Meanwhile, in front of Richards Hall, Cougar Court is being extended as a two-way drive to intersect Algonquin Drive.

The city project will eliminate the inconvenience of weaving through the adjacent parking lot to navigate this route.

The new roadway includes a crosswalk from Richards Hall to the lower parking lot and parallel parking spaces alongside the Richards building and Woodruff Gym.

The intersection also complements the recent CSU landscape master plan provision for a circular main campus thoroughfare.

The new route, in addition to a temporary widening of the Gentian Road entrance at Cougar Court, also will accommodate construction-vehicle access to the site of the new Student Recreation Center.

Construction of the 96,000-square foot center begins in early August and immediately eliminates the entire parking lot between the Lumpkin Center and Woodruff Gym and the Health and Safety Center.

However, Director of Plant Operations for Main Campus and Construction Manager Mike Medlock said the 542-space parking deck alongside the Lumpkin Center will sufficiently replace the eliminated parking space, even when fall classes begin.

“Before this, just 75 and 125 vehicles on average have occupied the parking deck during fall and spring semester class days,” he said. “We’ll also open a permanent one-way road to the parking deck from the entrance at University Avenue to further improve the traffic flow.”

Also, workers are installing and refurbishing pathway lighting at the parking deck and Lumpkin Center along Gentian Boulevard and between buildings in the heart of main campus.

The new recreation center, which is being paid for by student fees, should be completed by December 2010.

Meanwhile, the Schuster Student Success Center is on schedule for completion by mid-November, with occupancy starting in January.

In addition to Cougar Court extension as a city project, the other campus work is being completed with funds allocated prior to the current fiscal year, said Medlock.

Medlock said these and smaller maintenance and landscaping projects are carried out foremost to support the university’s student recruitment and retention objectives. “We want campus to look its best to prospective students and their parents as soon as they come through the front gates.”