Dakota Dintelman, Reporter
With the recent conclusion of the renovation of Hansen Hall, students now have a more spacious and habitable area for studying and relaxing. The recent changes in Hansen Hall have made it prettier and more importantly a better learning environment. Although plans did not go off without a hitch, the end result seems to be worth any complications that student and staff may have faced. And in the end, the cooperation of the students and faculty in Hansen Hall really helped the project progress as smoothly as it could.
“I really appreciate the cooperation we received because I think everyone knew that that there was a relatively short term pain to get to an outcome that we were all going to be pleased with.”, said Dr. Jon Bauer, president of East Central College in Union.
Ann Boehmer, Division Chair of Math and English, credits Thomas Schickler, ECC’s Custodial Supervisor, and the IT department in Hansen Hall for rising to the occasion and making sure that things were up and running when they needed to be.
“I think it says a lot about our employees at the college and their dedication to the students.” Mark Eaton, Director of Facilities and Grounds who managed the construction project, concurs with Beohmer’s statement. Say that “I thought everyone was amazing, and [the staff’s cooperation] allowed us to finish a project that was badly needed. So I guess to faculty and students, thank you would be the only thing I would have to say.”
Unfortunately, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and there were a few complications and hiccups within the construction period. Due to deadlines that had to be made due to the grants expiration date and the nature of the building the construction crew was working on, some work had to be done while class was in session.
Dr. Bauer stated that if he could do one thing differently during the process he would liked to have examine the possibility of moving everything out of the building for some period of time to avoid having ongoing construction underway while classes were in session.
This likely would not have been possible, as the Graphic Arts depart is the only place on campus with fiber optic cable running to the desktops, and with fiber optic being expensive, this is hard to duplicate. Not only would this very hard to do, but it would also likely be cost prohibitive.
Sean Barton, a Graphic Design instructor, called the project a “scheduling and logistic nightmare.”
Barton took notice of several hiccups during the remodeling of Hansen Hall. One of which was the dumpster for demolition being placed over several handicapped parking spaces. As well as several incidents that happened within the building. The most notable of which was a student of Sean’s adjunct David Potthast becoming “physically ill” after fumes had escaped from the building’s plumbing.
Barton also noted that “there were about 4 or 5 days there were having class was extremely difficult because the noise.”
In response, Eaton said it best when he stated “Make no mistake about it, doing the project the way that we did it is more difficult because we’re trying to occupy a space that we’re also renovating, and it makes it a little bit difficult, you have to plan a little bit better… they don’t make rubber hammers and they don’t make rubber nails.”
Noise was unavoidable and it was unlikely that things were going to go perfectly.
Despite the difficulties endured by faculty and students, the finished product is something that everyone can be happy about, as the renovations look nice to say the least. Students use the new study areas regularly and teachers enjoy them as well.
“The long and short of it is that we got it done, and you guys, the students, are going to benefit from it for some time to come. So if I had to all over again, I’d do it the same way.” This project marks Mark Eaton’s last year at East Central College before retiring and he sees the project as a strong finish on a positive note for himself.
He says that was “ecstatic” to be able to complete the project, and having heard students talking about it in positive way really makes it worth all the bumps and bruises that occurred along the way.