Photo by Alex Pletcher
By Jair Hernandez
Goshen College students stepping onto campus this fall will notice a plethora of construction welcoming them to campus. The college is currently in the midst of three major construction projects: a new train underpass, a renovated Union building and a new geothermal heating system. All three projects started last spring and are scheduled for completion at some point this fall.
Bill Born, vice president of student life, explained that, while the idea of an underpass had been bounced around even before his time here, “the actual project that we’re now seeing probably came to the table six or seven years ago.” Glenn Gilbert, GC utilities manager, noted that the project took a long time because “it’s been extremely complex to get through all of the regulatory hurdles and all the engineering processes that had to happen.”
Construction was finally started last spring when the Northern Indiana Construction Company broke ground on the project. Students will have to wait to use the underpass, Gilbert explains, because “the final completion date is for the middle of November; that will include all the landscaping and rebuilding the sidewalks.”
The geothermal heating system is a construction project on campus that students may not have noticed. Gilbert said that the project will “change how we heat the library, Umble Center and about 60% of the Union building.” Current Mechanical, a company based in Fort Wayne, Ind., that has done a lot of work on campus mechanical systems in the past, is installing the new system. The system is replacing an existing boiler and air conditioning system that were getting old and inefficient. Gilbert explained that the new geothermal system will “make hot water and cold water simultaneously with big heat pumps, using the groundwater as a source of heat in the winter and a source rejecting heat in the summertime.” The system is very complicated and construction is expected to be finished in mid-October.
The other construction project on campus is the renovation of the Union building. The work on the Union is being undertaken by DJ Construction Company, which is based out of Goshen. The project is still in progress but changes made include a new layout of the building, the addition of office space, a larger commuter’s lounge and a general face-lift for the building. The expected completion date for the project is early November, when the Union will open the offices of the Center for Intercultural and International Education.
The future of Goshen College includes at least one more construction project on campus. After the recent decision to close down the pool in the Recreation Fitness Center on campus, the process has started to decide what the space will now be used for. Born pointed out that the RFC is a student space and “students are investing a ton to be here.” So, Born added, “we really ought to be attentive to what bests serves them.” Students are invited to attend an upcoming pool forum, hosted by the student senate, to add their voice to the discussion. The forum is scheduled for September 23.