New turf on Grove City College’s Robert E. Thorn Field may be the most visible and vibrant of the summer’s campus capital improvements, but it is just one of more than two dozen projects the College took on while students were away.
All told, the projects – some completed, some still ongoing – represent an investment of more than $7 million in the College’s 188-acre campus about an hour north of Pittsburgh. Some, like the resurfaced Thorn Field or the new porch and steps on Breen Student Union will be apparent. Others, including some of the most extensive work, won’t be visible to most students and visitors in the fall.
Jim Lopresti, vice president for Operations at Grove City College, said the scope of the projects range from general improvements to regular upkeep of campus facilities to providing solutions to persistent problems.
“We’ve been working hard all summer to complete these projects,” Lopresti said. “In the end, all of this work will make for a better, safer and more efficient campus that meets the needs of our students, faculty and community.”
The College continues in its ability to avoid taking on debt to achieve its goals. Generous donors and prudent financial management have been invaluable to making capital improvements such as these possible.
After a decade of hard use by the Wolverine football team, other athletes, student groups and the Grove City community, Thorn Field’s artificial turf reached the end of its useful life. Work began in June to strip the old turf and infill from the field and lay a new FieldTurf playing surface, which features a new, brighter version of Grove City College’s crimson and white colors.
The area around the Breen Student Union has been a job site for most of the summer as new sanitary lateral lines were installed and new steps and a porch are added to the west side of the building. The new entryway is an aesthetic and utilitarian addition to the student activity center. It replaces a deteriorating set of steps that wrapped around the face of the building, provides a commanding view of the courtyard between the union and STEM Hall and creates additional outdoor space for student activities.
Contractors also took up residence this summer at Hicks Dining Hall, where the entire kitchen was replaced and a new fire alarm system was installed in the attached residence hall.
Another major project was the addition of a boiler to ensure the campus doesn’t face a heating emergency during the winter months. The new boiler will provide redundancy to the system.
Other work includes:
• Extensive electrical feed alterations along campus’ eastern border.
• A new roof and HVAC unit for Henry Buhl Library.
• New ceilings in much of Crawford Hall.
• Rockwell Hall roof repairs.
• Mechanical improvements to the competition and recreational pools in the Physical Learning Center.
• Landscaping around the steps leading from Rainbow Bridge to Upper Campus, which was funded by the Class of 2016.
One of the College’s more unique facilities is also on the project list: the William H. Allen Jr. Bowling Alley, located on the lower level of the Physical Learning Center. A favorite campus hangout since the 1950s, the lanes are getting shored up to repair years of enthusiastic use, new carpet is being added to the seating area and, thanks to the contributions of the College’s Student Government Association, the bowling alley is getting new lighting and fresh paint.