Covenant’s faculty and staff are in the process of making some big changes as they expect the beginnings of renovation and restoration of the exterior of Carter Hall as well as its roof. The current plan is to divide Carter into three sections (north, center, and south), and all offices and departments within a particular section of the building will take turns transferring themselves elsewhere on campus as construction occurs.
The north section of Carter will be the starting point of this procedure. Therefore, those involved in financial aid, the registrar’s office, the vice president for finance, the accounting office, and Student Development will relocate to different areas on campus, such as Jackson, Mills or Brock. For Dean Voyles and his staff and the Center for Student Success, their new location will be the second floor of the Kresge Library. This move could take place either at some point this semester or immediately after the semester ends.
Tad Mindeman, the Kresge Library director, knows plenty of details about this task in regards to the library and the campus as a whole. “Right now they are putting up the walls and getting things ready for the Center for Student Success,” Mindeman states, “and the way they’re moving, I can see them getting Janet Hulsey and Sarah Ocando over here during spring break.”
The library staff has already taken a couple of steps in order to accommodate the migration of the Student Development offices, such as moving the DVD and Hamm music collections into the main area of the second floor and shifting the DVD players and monitors to a few of the public carrels. The former DVD room will become the main office for the Center for Student Success, which will relocate to the second floor of the library permanently.
Dean Voyles’ office will temporarily move into the Kresge 215 classroom, and three people from the Student Development staff will also temporarily relocate into three of the group study rooms on the second floor. The duration of their stay in the library is uncertain. Tad Mindeman said that “It depends on how fast the work progresses over Carter. At minimum they will be here from May through December, maybe longer.”
Although the renovation of Carter is a positive project, there are still a few factors that need to be addressed. The transition of departments and offices, while necessary, is inconvenient for current students and new students who will be attending Covenant next year due to the new locations of the different departments.
“You’re gonna need a map to find people around here in the fall because it’s not gonna be normal,” Mindeman says, “it’s a massive deal.” He continues to explain how this idea is a “giant jigsaw puzzle” because the movement of one department affects another department, or it affects that particular part of the building they are now planning on occupying.
Another issue is that the construction of the new art building needs to be completed by Fall 2015 in order for the faculty and staff of the art department to move into their new offices, allowing those who are in Carter to move into the offices in Jackson.
Lastly, the restoration of Carter will uproot not only faculty and staff departments and offices, but also students who live on the upper floors in Carter, beginning with the north halls during the fall semester of 2015. They too will be spread out all over campus.
Despite these disturbances to normal campus living, there are still small changes that can be positive for all of campus.
“For years now I’ve been talking to administration about my preference for having all academic support services under one roof,” Mindeman said, expressing his personal thoughts in regards to the library conversion. “You have the Writing Center, the library, now you have the Center for Student Success. I see that as a benefit to the students to take advantage of the space that we have and it just integrates everything nicely.”
The reconstruction of Carter Hall will definitely be a huge undertaking that will affect the faculty, staff, and students of campus. But these new developments far outweigh any slight or even major disruptions of the campus lifestyle. “We’ll be better off in the long run,” affirms Mindeman, “just temporarily it’ll be different.”