Renovations and infrastructure remodels initiated over the summer continue to impact social, academic and athletic spaces across campus. The ongoing face-lifts signify Taylor University’s desire to develop a physical environment that will positively shape students’ experiences.
A letter from the President’s Office on Sept. 1 noted that nearly every corner of Taylor’s campus has been modified in recent months. Beyond their aesthetic value, these changes are consistent with the university’s new strategic plan, entitled: “Taylor Thrives: Sparking A Vibrant Future.”
Approved by the Board of Trustees in the spring of 2022, the plan references the Taylor community’s desire to see the university invest in aging infrastructure and facilities — both to provide students with a better experience and to remain competitive.
In response, the new strategic plan outlines the university’s commitment to make critical investments in key facilities that will create an inspiring environment for work and study.
Some of the most significant projects up to this point have revolved around the Hodson Dining Commons (D.C.), academic spaces in the Mitchell Theater and Zondervan Library and athletic spaces in Odle Arena and on Turner Field.
Extensive painting and lighting changes are just the first on a long list of renovations planned for the D.C.
“Yet this fall we hope to finalize a new entrance door … for access to event space/conference space and some stone work around the brick columns,” Special Assistant to the President Ron Sutherland said.
Additional projects not yet considered for final review include new flooring, bathroom renovations, D.C. furniture, major electrical and plumbing work, new serving stations, elevator access and new windows. Altogether, Taylor has invested $180,000 of over $6.0 million allocated for this phase.
Academic spaces also received significant attention over the summer. Projects in Mitchell Theater included new seating, a fresh coat of paint in the lobby and a flooring upgrade. Together with renovations in the Zondervan Galleria, an estimated $200,000 was invested in academic buildings.
Renovations being considered for this fall and the following year include new air conditioning for the Rupp Communication Arts Center, as well as a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) review for the Reade Liberal Arts Center and Nussbaum Science Center.
Despite noteworthy changes to the D.C. and academic buildings, the most significant renovations this summer took place in athletic arenas.
The $1.1 million set aside for lobby renovations, additional exercise equipment and a new weight room in Odle’s east end came out of generous donations. However, Taylor also financed turf replacement on the Turner Field — a project not funded by donors, which cost an estimated $484,000. The university anticipates additional turf replacements on the practice field in the summer of 2023.
Through the support of multiple contractors and generous donors, along with a refinancing of the university’s debt in 2021 which brought to light additional financial resources, Taylor has taken significant steps toward the commitments outlined in the strategic plan.
“The goal of all facility improvements or additions is to directly improve the quality of our facilities,” Special Assistant to the President Ron Sutherland said. “We believe that our campus facilities support our students as they pursue God’s calling on their lives while they are here at Taylor University. Making these investments displays our commitment to a quality physical environment for our students.”