Building into the Student Experience

Renovating buildings on Cedarville’s campus is a long process and one involving many different people.

“My job is to meet the building needs of the group, whether it be for an academic program or for Christian Ministry,” said Rod Johnson, associate vice president for operations.

Most recently, Johnson said he has been working closely with the faculty and staff of the science department.

Johnson said the Engineering and Science Center, which houses most of the science programs, was built in 1973. After 40 years, the facilities were no longer able to provide the students with the optimum resources necessary.

For Cedarville’s science programs to continue to equip students with top-quality training, Johnson said, the building needed an update. To help gather ideas for the update, specifically the lab, Cindy Wingert, assistant professor of biology, traveled to many different schools and toured their labs.

During the summer and the beginning of the school year, the anatomy labs on the third floor of the Engineering and Science Center were finished, wrapping up phase one of the two-phase overhaul.

“The much needed improvements came as a joy to both students and faculty alike,” said Melissa Hartman, an assistant professor of biology at Cedarville.

The new labs include larger desks, better lighting and, most importantly, sealed ventilation. The updates allow students to comfortably learn in a state-of-the-art environment, she said.

Hartman stressed the importance of the new labs and the many opportunities they give students. The labs will greatly enhance the education of many students, she said, especially ones continuing on to further medical training.

“The new labs are beautiful and are a great space, especially for an undergraduate program.” Hartman said. “They are better than the labs of some medical schools I have seen.”

The second half of phase two of the project, which includes replacing the former service center with a science center, is already underway. The new science center will house the chemistry department.

This phase, Johnson said, should be done around May 2015.

This final phase of the project will involve moving other programs into the space the chemistry department once occupied. Johnson said this will provide more space for both the biology and engineering departments.

Future projects

Johnson said there are also several future projects on the radar. Next summer, there will be the usual repairs of roofs and parking lots, as well as other small projects. The water tower will be repainted and will also bear a new logo.

Students asked about the future of Faith Hall during this fall’s Q&A chapel.

Johnson later said plans are still in the discussion phase, but in the near future the dorm will have to be totally redone. Ideally, he said, he hopes that a more modern dormitory will replace Faith Hall, possibly even in a more convenient location.

“It is not a matter of if the dorm will be torn down,” he said, “it is a matter of what, when and where it will happen.”

Chapel renovations

For many students, interest in school renovations peaked when they were discussed during the Q&A chapel with Dr. Thomas White, Cedarville’s president, and Jon Wood, the vice president for student life and Christian ministries.

During that service, Wood announced plans to renovate the chapel.

Chapel renovations are currently expected to begin during the summer of 2016. Wood said while ideally they would like to begin next summer, it is not possible.

The year delay will provide the university with time to raise money for the effort and to solidify a design for the space. While the physical space is what Johnson oversees, he explained that the chapel renovation is about more than simply replacing the pews, carpet and painting.

“Right now we are just discussing what Dr. White and Jon Wood want moving forward,” Johnson said. “We are asking questions like, ‘What are the most important things to them?’ and ‘Which system will line up to their vision for the chapel?’”

Johnson also said that many technical aspects of the chapel would be updated. Currently production services is working on updating its technology to improve its services. An acoustician recently visited the school, Wood said, and discussed designs to help improve sound quality in the room.

Wood said the chapel is the cornerstone of the school, as some of the most important things happen there. When students pour into the chapel every day, they come with different burdens, needs and weaknesses, he said. Chapel provides an opportunity for God to work in the lives of Cedarville’s faculty, staff and students.

“God can still move in people’s hearts at Cedarville whether or not we have nice chairs,” Wood said. “We do not need to spend money just so we can say we have nice things. We want to be intentional with our spending to make the space we have more functional.”

Taylor Hobbs is a freshman psychology major and reporter for Cedars. She enjoys stereotypical Canadian things like saying “Eh” and watching hockey.

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