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Campus Renovation Updates

By: Kyle Munoz

Morden Center Updates: With the groundbreaking happening over 2 years ago, renovations to the Morden Center are, finally, almost finished. Interested to learn more about the work that has gone on and is currently ongoing, I interviewed the Morden Center Project Manager, Kent Bradford, Class of ‘79. When I asked Kent why the renovations were important to him, he said “[The Morden Center] is a unique and iconic, one-of-a-kind, structure on the campus that lives in the heart of alumni. It will provide a wide range of athletic facilities for students [when complete].” Kent gave me a lot of detailed explanations as to everything that has happened during the construction, the cur- rent ongoing work, and the finishing touches needed to put this project to bed.

Firstly, there are only 2 real phases to the Morden Center renovations. Phase 1 kicked off with the complete deconstruction and rebuilding of the roof of the Morden Center. While simply said, this process was not so easy. To maintain the structure of our unique gym, sections had to be removed in specific order, to maintain balance in thestructure and prevent anything from happening to the shape of the roof. This process began in the summer break of 2021, after campus was emptied and the gym was no longer needed for student athletes to practice and compete. Multiple teams of construction workers took to slowly and carefully removing the roof and then replacing it with all new materials, section by section. An important part of this process also involved replacing almost all the electrical cabling inthe building. This improvement allowed for the installation of new lights, a new scoreboard, and new wires for internet and Wi-Fi, ensuring a better quality of livestreaming from the Morden, and improving guest experience. Another very crucial part of this phase was the installation of new ductwork for the new HVAC system being installed. In other words, the gym will now have heating and air conditioning capabilities, making it a much better experience for athletes, spectators, and even some campers in the summer such as those who attend Spectacular. Other features of this phase included waterproofing of the outer walls of the gym to prevent flooding, improvements to the drainage system around the gym, and renovations to the lobby, which can already be seen. The biggest delay with Phase 1 was weather related. The spray foam roof could not be applied if there was any moisture(dew or rain) present. Also, consistent temperatures of over 50 degrees were needed so everything could cure properly. This was finished in the summer of 2022. In the meantime, Phase 2 construction began on the gym. This phase consists of the installation of more drainage systems for the outside, new concreate work, including American with Disabilities Act(A.D.A.) compliant sidewalks and doors, interior work on the floors and courts, and other miscellaneous renovations. The new drainage systems, many of which have already been completed, will prevent any form of flooding or standing water outside and around the gym. The concrete work will create new ways to get to the main entrance of the gym from the east and the west parking lots surrounding it. Furthermore, all the new sidewalks and stairs leading to the gym will be A.D.A. compliant and lighted. A new concreate plaza will be laid, as the previous one and the stairs leading to the main entrance from the north were demolished as part of the renovations. Other miscellaneous enhancements include new carpet in the lob- by, new doors at the main entrances, and window replacements. A key part of this phase was the installation of the new bleachers, half of which are up, and new track and side courts which will be completed in October. Also, despite rumors that last year’s court was the new court, the actual new court was installed this summer. Phase 2 of the Morden Center is planned to mark the end of the Morden Center renovations and should be completed by the end of October. More projects, such as a Digital Hall of Fame, are in the discussion phases. Kent is very appreciative of all the donors and would especially like to thank Louise and Paul Morden and Richard Resch for their contributions. Hampton Parking Lot Con- struction: As students arrived on campus this semester there was something amiss about the Graceland campus. Following the sounds of the heavy machinery and construction and destruction, I looked into this matter. At first glance I figured what I was seeing was construction equipment for the Morden Center renovations was just being left in the Zimmerman parking lot, but this was not the case. Upon closer inspection, it was very clear that something else was going on here as half of the Zimmerman parking lot was destroyed and the workers had clearly been digging up something. Multiple 4 to 6 feet deep trenches had been dug, with pipes weaving in and out. While I waited for a decent source of information on the work, I asked a handful of Gracelander’s what they thought. “I think it’s related to the water system that busted and flooded the esports lounge,” said Brendyn Padget. “It’s the boiler system,” insisted Max Weesner and Braydon Chase. Lance Wallace suggested “It has something to do with the water main.” Riley Newendorp, when questioned about the reason for all the digging,suggested “a dead body,” as the reason for the dirt work. Another student, Calvin Hays suggested it had something to do with fossils, while Delaney Fox thought “maybe they’re finding treasure!” To find the truth, I headed to facility services. There, I asked Facility Services administrative assistant Louri Putnam about it to receive an offi- cial answer. “It is the steam line,” claimed Louri, to “help with the heating of [Briggs, Zimmerman, and Resch].” So, there it is, asteam line. The new steam is split, instead of all feeding from one pipe. Furthermore, the new lines should help with keeping the buildings warmer in the winter. Also, if one should break, the other lines should still work, allowing warm places to learn and study in the winter.

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