Renovations sweep throughout campus

Faculty expected to move into Emerson Hall once renovations are complete on Feb. 26.


Infographic by Sean Leone/THE CHIMES

Alondra Urizar, Writer

Approximately $67 million has gone towards budgets for the conversion of Emerson Hall from a dorm to offices, a new awning for the Breezeway between the Biola Bookstore and Eagle’s Nest and the building of the Alton and Lydia Lim Center of Science, Technology and Health.


The Alton and Lydia Lim Center for Science, Technology and Health had plan checks submitted in June 2015 approved in December 2015. Current work done included utility relocation and demolition of White Hall and the Art Department building. Demolition began in fall 2015 and Biola allowed the Los Angeles Fire Department to utilize the buildings for training space.

Since construction has not officially begun, the projected start date will be Feb. 29. An official groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Friday, Feb. 26 at 9:30 a.m. during which President Barry Corey will dedicate the building.

The science building will be 91,200 square feet and the projected completion date is fall 2017. Faculty will be able to move in and the center made available for use in January 2018.


The official budget for the new science building has been set for $63 million. While at the Conviction and Courage black-tie gala, Alton and Lydia Lim donated $12 million , the largest donation in Biola’s history. Projected construction costs came to $42 million and though the total came to $63,593,083, the amount was still well within the amount approved by the Board of Trustees, Phillips said in an email. Contingencies have been built in to maintain the budget at $63 million over the course of the construction.

The Alton and Lydia Lim Center of Science, Technology and Health is included in Biola’s master plan to continue to better the campus, said Brian Phillips, senior director of facilities management.

“We’re just really excited about the pace of construction at Biola. If you think about it, our master plan was approved really just three years ago and already in that time we’ve built a new parking structure, a new residence hall and we’re getting ready to break ground on what will be our third largest building on campus,” Phillips said.

The Breezeway, the walkway between the Biola Bookstore, Eagle’s Nest and Common Grounds is partially closed for construction of the new awning that will cover the west side of the walkway.

Construction began on Dec. 19 after finals and the graduation ceremony. At the present time, wooden paths have been created to allow visitors to enter the Biola Bookstore, Common Grounds and Mailing Services from the Breezeway. An entrance has been temporarily placed to allow patrons to enter the Eagle’s Nest from the lower Student Union Building.

Though expected to be finished by April 2016, the Breezeway will be made available again by the end of February or early March, Phillips said. An anonymous university partner funded the project by donating $1,318,000.


In January 2015, Biola approved the renovations on Emerson Hall. Facilities management submitted a plan check to the city of La Mirada for Emerson Hall in May 2015 and construction began two months later in July after a six-week delay of plan check approval.

The old residence hall has gone through a seismic retrofit to bring it up to par with current earthquake standards and had air conditioning units and an elevator built inside. To join the top floors together, a catwalk will be constructed to promote community. While the move was originally for January 2016, the weather delayed construction over December and January and the plan check took longer than expected, Phillips said. The current projected move in date is schedule for Feb. 26., and the estimated budget for renovation and construction costs on Emerson was $3 million.

Todd Thompson, assistant professor of history at the Torrey Honors Institute, has his office located in the Crowell School of Business. With his office packed up and waiting to be moved to Emerson Hall, he is unable to have scheduled meeting times with students and has relocated his meetings to Heritage Cafe. Despite the delay, he enjoys the change of scenery and appreciates all the work facilities management has done.

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