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Buildings, Pathways Improved, Ferris Prepares for Students' Return to Campus

Student Recreation Center
PHOTO CAPTION: An expanded and dedicated weight room is part of the $6.2 million Student Recreation Center renovation project at Ferris State University. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony to show off the SRC the evening of Monday, Aug. 27, along with the annual RecFest event.

There are subtle and distinct adjustments put in place on Ferris State University’s Big Rapids campus, during Summer 2018, to prepare for the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year.

Some main-campus changes may draw greater attention, such as the renovation and expansion of the Student Recreation Center, which will be displayed in a ribbon-cutting ceremony before RecFest on Student Recreation CenterMonday evening, Aug. 27. The two-story project had a $6.2 million budget, and University Recreation Director Cindy Horn said her student staff will spend the week before classes training in the newly-expanded facility.

“We are excited and hopeful that students, faculty and Ferris staff will enjoy the improvements,” Horn said. “With a new weight room, a wellness classroom and an expanded lobby, we expect they will enjoy the changes."

Senior Project Manager for Physical Plant Joseph Haupt said some residence halls received improvements and upgrades as part of Housing and Residence Life’s initiatives.

“In Pickell Hall, a single-passenger lift has been installed, to provide Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility for Honors Program students,” Haupt said. “We have also created an event area in the basement of that building, which is ADA-compliant, and capable of accommodating student gatherings and other programs. In Clark Hall, we have added a fitness center, improved laundry facilities and added a kitchenette, which are very much like amenities provided to North Hall students. There have also been improvements made in the lobby area, inside and out, to give the building a fresher look.”

Housing and Residence Life Director Bryan Marquardt said that the Clark Hall renovations are intended to support their Sophomore Experience program, which is designed to accentuate the campus living experience for its participants.

“The North Hall residents and other students have come to expect that level of excellence and customer service from our facilities,” Marquardt said. “We are excited to offer these students single-person accommodations, in Clark Hall, since we believe they will respond to these efforts to serve them as customers.”

Marquardt said area residents, along with faculty and staff, can play a crucial role on Thursday, Aug. 23 and Friday, Aug. 24, in The Bulldogs in Action effort to assist the student move-in process.

“We have rented 24 utility carts, which are essentially golf carts with a storage bed in back,” Marquardt said. “We will be having students and parents park their vehicles in Lot 16, near the new athletic fields off Knollview Drive, and offer them door-to-door service to Clark, Pickell or Ward Halls, along with others where drive-up access is limited. It is another aspect of our desire to offer maximum customer service, and those who operate the carts will have Bulldogs in Action T-shirts, and a pass for free lunch at The Rock, along with our thanks.”

The University Center will transition as the home for orientation sessions and other summer meetings to serving as the hub of the Ferris campus. Karen Bohren, manager of the bookstore, said her area has been busy receiving and processing textbooks.

“I could not even guess how many books that might encompass,” Bohren said. “We are getting ready for students by adding to our student staff to help our customers as the academic year begins. We are also fully stocked with apparel with Ferris’ name and logo as those goods have been coming in for months.”

Haupt said commuter students and others who travel about the Ferris campus should notice new parking and paving for greater convenience.

“With the parking lot reconfiguration near Top Taggart Field, which includes access to South Street, Physical Plant Director of Operations Mark Eichenberg has taken that project further, to include repaving on South, along with Knollview Drive,” Haupt said. “Commuters and other campus drivers will notice some relocated curb cuts as they make their way to the improved parking facilities.”

Visitors driving onto campus up to the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year should also be aware of the latest in parking regulations from Ferris’ Department of Public Safety.