Letter to the editor: information regarding campus refresh projects

Brian Phillips

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I understand there have been questions raised about the planned intramural and events center.

This is one of several “Campus Refresh” projects approved by the Board of Trustees in January 2018. I want to provide some background as to how the list of refresh projects came about and some clarity on how the event center will impact the surrounding area of campus. First, some background on the Campus Refresh.

Over the last year, we have had discussions with the Board of Trustees about a number of facility needs on campus. At the request of the board, we developed a prioritized list of projects that would either directly benefit students, reduce operating costs or address critical maintenance needs. These projects were to be funded by a one-time use of endowment. A final list of projects was recommended to the board in January and the following projects were approved:

At the top of the list was a replacement of the original engines at our Central Plant that are approaching the end of their useful life. The Central Plant saves the university $1.5 million annually in avoided utility cost, and an upgrade to higher efficiency equipment would generate an additional $500,000 in annual savings.

The next priority was a renovation of Chase Gymnasium. With Kinesiology and Health Sciences relocating to the Alton and Lydia Lim Center for Science, Technology and Health and Soubirou Hall, we have an opportunity to renovate several of the support areas of Chase Gymnasium. The renovations will address facility compliance issues and better support our student athletes. Included in this project is the much anticipated air conditioning of the main gym.

As more athletic teams require access to the gymnasium, administration has formulated plans to build an intramural and events center for $2 million to open in fall 2019. The center would be used for intramural sports, P.E. classes and special events. It would be air conditioned and

large enough for two basketball courts or three volleyball courts. We expect the structure to save Biola approximately $50,000, which usually funds tent rentals. We also believe the center will enhance our ability to host summer conferences, a significant source of

revenue for the university. There will be landscaped plaza areas on two sides of the center that will enhance the appearance and function of this area of campus. The construction of the event center will have little to no impact on the Music in Worship building. While there is a long-term desire to relocate the music and worship Department to a new area on campus, no immediate plans have been developed. Perhaps the most significant impact to campus will be the elimination of 55 ground level parking spaces. Our most recent parking survey indicated that only 65 percent of all campus parking spaces were full at our peak time of week. Given this information, we believe there will be more than sufficient parking capacity after the elimination of these spaces.

Finally, there will be several improvements at Metzger Hall, including a replacement of the main air conditioning system, which is nearly 40 years old. We will also renovate the Metzger Lobby and the President’s Wing, the last wing of Metzger Hall to be renovated since it was constructed in 1979.

In May 2018, we will be proposing two additional projects to the Board of Trustees— renovation of Bardwell Hall for the art department and the first major renovation of Sutherland Auditorium since Sutherland Hall was constructed in 1958.

Brian Phillips

Senior Director, Facilities Management