Orr Center to get makeover

Rachel Christian

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The Orr Center will receive a face-lift within the next month thanks to renovations taking place in the building.

The English department outgrew the Liberal Arts building and transferred its classrooms to the Orr Center three years ago. The department has phased in renovations as funding became available, but the major renovation will take place over the summer.

Construction will start the week after finals and finish before classes begin in the fall. The project’s budget is estimated between $200,000 and $250,000.

Plans include updating classroom spaces on the east side of the building, updating computer labs on the second floor and technology in all of the classrooms.

It will allow for more classroom space that is adaptive to different students’ learning styles and needs.

“The new classroom format will most likely include small tables with detached chairs that can be easily reconfigured to accommodate different teaching styles,” said Stephen Spencer, English department chair.

Michael Mohr, one of the main architects on the project, said the renovations are needed.

“They haven’t really updated the classrooms much since they’ve been built,” Mohr said. “It’s one of those things that needs to be done.”

There are still some discussions about what kind of furniture will be used in the renovated classrooms and how that furniture will affect the budget.

Other aspects of the construction are fairly basic and should progress smoothly over the summer, Mohr said.

Some English majors are excited to see the changes the renovations will bring.

“I think construction on the Orr Center will be very beneficial to students,” said Casey Gillingham. “It’s one of the oldest buildings on campus, and that definitely shows.”

Fellow English major Kaleb Sullivan was unaware of the planned renovations and said he prefers classrooms in the Orr Center to classrooms in the Liberal Arts Center.

“I appreciate all of the windows,” Sullivan said.

He did offer a few pre-graduation suggestions, though.

“I think the second and third floor could be more open,” Sullivan said. “Especially the third floor. It’s like a maze up there.”

He also thinks the building’s ventilation system could use some improvements.

“(The building’s) system seems to overreact to the weather,” he said. “When it’s cold outside, the Orr feels like an oven and vice versa.”

James Vaughn contributed to this story.

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