Summer at SIUE means two things: fewer students and more time to focus on renovations or changes at the university.
Having fewer classes, less traffic and less activity allows Dining Services, Facilities Management, the SIUE Police Department and facilities like the Student Fitness Center to take the time to better campus overall.
Director of Facilities Management Craig Holan said they have quite a few projects they are working on into the fall.
“Most of our construction is focused over the summer months, if we can,” Holan said. “It’s not always possible, like Founders Hall, which is an ongoing project, but we do take advantage of the times when school is not in session to accelerate work on those projects when we can get into spaces easier and it’s less disruptive.”
To start, they will be finishing the first phase of Founders Hall.
“The continuation of Founders, which is a complete rehabilitation. It’s part of the 21st century project, which is student fee-funded.” Holan said. “We are doing all the core buildings, Founders being the first.”
Holan said they will have to reconfigure some of the areas, referred to as “swing spaces” because of the changes between offices and classrooms. The project will continue into next summer.
“I am very excited about getting to the end of Phase One of Founders Hall. It’s been difficult for the people that have been in the building. You know, we’ve had a roof torn off at various times and a lot of construction noise going on,” Holan said. “Phase Two will have that, too, but the roof will be in, the towers that are being built will be in, and so it should be a much better environment for those in the building.”
Facilities Management will also be renovating Accessible Campus Community & Equitable Student Support offices in the Student Success Center, working on the chancellor’s suite, renovating Starbucks, replacing water tanks in the Vadalabene Center’s indoor pool and continuing the Sidewalk Replacement project, which will replace aging walkways with cement sidewalks in batches each summer.
“We are fixing water heaters at the Vadalabene Center that had actually been failing at a pretty alarming rate, so that’s on the verge of being an emergency project,” Holan said. “But that’s engineer-awarded so that will start up soon.”
According to Director of Campus Recreation Keith Becherer, the pool was heated by tanks from the 1980s. Only three were functional and the others were getting close, he said.
Other projects include new rooftop heating and cooling units at the East St. Louis Center. Currently some units have been installed and the rest will be installed after the Charter High School finishes their finals, according to Holan.
Facilities will also be putting in new carpets at the School of Nursing and Dunham Theater, a new skylight in Lovejoy Library, and are hoping for approval on a new skylight in the Student Fitness Center.
The Korte Stadium parking lot and Parking Lot A will be finished by the start of the fall semester. Parking Lot A will gain a roundabout entrance to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the roadway, according to Holan. The current design only allows drivers to go left or right.
Summertime also means more grass-cutting and planting for facilities. Holan said last year, they were able to plant 100 new trees on campus. Facilities has many projects they will be working on alongside grounds work.
“Summers are usually busy for us because of all the construction, but we have a lot of smaller projects as well,” Holan said. “They keep the campus not only in good maintenance but make some improvements for the future, too.”
SIUE Police might be less busy with activity in the summer, but Police Chief Kevin Schmoll said their staffing and services on all three campuses won’t change.
“Summertime is an opportunity for us,” Schmoll said. “We get our firearms training in, we do active shooter training in the summer as well, and that is department-wide. We will bring in other departments — the Edwardsville Police Department and the Edwardsville Fire Department — to train with us.”
However, Schmoll said, it’s also the best time to get any extended vacation time in because the activity is lower.
“I can take off a week and can go on vacation with my family, and really not have to worry about something major happening, or it’s less likely something is going to happen,” Schmoll said.
The summer allows them to participate in two Police Youth camps. Police and Children together is a week-long camp including several departments in the metro-east area. In addition, 60 to 80 junior high and high school students will come to Principia College for the Illinois State Police Youth Camp, and will meet SIUE officers for bowling and other activities on Friday, July 19 at the RecPlex.
“It’s a good mentoring program,” Schmoll said. “These are youth that need some guidance and some positive direction, and it’s an opportunity for them to see police officers that are helping them and that are mentoring them.”
Schmoll said the department will be gaining one officer from the police academy. Officer Samantha Jones will begin her 14-week training after she graduates on June 14. Justin Lieberman was also promoted to the captain rank at the end of the semester, which means the department will be filling a lieutenant position, a sergeant position in June, and then an officer position for the August academy.
“Our services do not change whatsoever,” Schmoll said. “We are here on all three campuses. There’s a lot of construction going on, so we do keep an eye on it especially at night and on weekends, on the construction sites to make sure to deter any theft or tampering with the equipment.”
Dining Services expects to see some remodeling in addition to the renovations at Starbucks and adding more options to campus, according to Dennis Wobbe, director of Dining Services.
“Some of the things we are working on is Chick-fil-A, so we are working on that one this summer to get it going for Summer 2020, is the goal. Starbucks is going on right now,” Wobbe said. “Starbucks will be open at the start of school, and Kaldi’s is open for the meantime.”
Pizza Hut will be working on more made-to-order and gluten-free options, and Chick-Fil-A will add a mobile-ordering system with kiosks, Wobbe said.
Wobbe said they are planning improvements to items offered at Fixins, considering adding Cinnabon to Auntie Annes, and exploring the creation of an app.
“The hardest thing is trying to find...our compliance with the credit card and then the Cougar Card and getting them all in the same [system] is difficult, so we are exploring a couple of different options.”
Wobbe said they are working with Dining Services staff to develop composting and gardening initiatives, but the key is starting small.
“We have some people from rural areas that have farms and passions for gardening, and some other people that are more passionate for learning and different things like that. So what can they do in different areas of dining services to better us?” Wobbe said.
Wobbe said he wants to increase visibility to help students understand how to compost, offer food waste lessons and eventually have a full-circle initiative where they can use the compost for their garden and use produce from the garden for recipes. During the school year, they have the Urban Cultivator, where they have microgreens, fresh sprouts and other items.
In addition, Wobbe said he is looking into creating more ethnic cuisine options. More ethnic cuisine options, such as Vietnamese or Thai options in Wok.
Summer means Springboard events, so Dining Services will be up and running for those, as well as weeks when classes are in session. A full list of hours can be found at https://www.siue.edu/dining/.
Wobbe said Skywalk will be closing because of the decrease in sales, but the MUC truck will take over.
“With the construction over there, a lot of people don’t pass through there, anymore. This year, just with not having the traffic. So this year, we are working on having the MUC truck open with extended hours and kind of taking the place of SkyWalk.”
Wobbe said the MUC truck will visit different areas on campus and later hours. He is also working on creating different options for meal plans and cougar cards in the future.
Overall, Wobbe said Dining Services is hoping to better campus by creating less food waste, focusing on quality of their food and having a self-assessment to improve upon anything needing to change.
“We love what we do,” Wobbe said. “We appreciate the students, and we feel that we are an integral part of education. We are a place for the students… It’s about unwinding and feeling the comfort of a meal, and their well-being overall is our top priority. Our staff really cares about the students.”
Student Fitness Center
Although there are fewer students using the Student Fitness Center and RecPlex in the summer, the facilities will be used in different ways, according to Becherer.
Becherer said summer is usually busy in a different way, especially this year. SIUE has entered into a partnership with the Southwest Illinois Baseball League.
“Basically, we are going to partner with them and negotiate... a competitive rate for our RecPlex/softball field that is not really being utilized by the students during the summer, and so we were kind of thinking there would be some interest based on the local community,” Becherer said. “It’s exceeded our expectations in a positive way.”
Becherer said the partnership will produce revenue that will eventually offset the cost of the field. According to Becherer, the league will draw in more spectators and visitors to the campus who are coming to watch the games.
“It really just took off,” Student Fitness Center Coordinator for Intramural Sports Tom Dougherty said. “When students aren’t here, we are still utilizing it. It creates revenue and it creates employment opportunities for students.”
Dougherty said in the past, soccer leagues have rented out fields for use, but also Greek Life members will host social gatherings.
Students who are taking summer classes can use the facilities free of charge, and then others can buy a membership. Details on memberships can be found at https://www.siue.edu/campus-recreation/about/memberships.shtml.
The Vadalabene Center pool is closed until May 31 while the water tanks are being replaced. In the meantime, the Edwardsville ESIC YMCA is offering their indoor pool to students with a valid Cougar Card. There is also the Edwardsville — Glen Carbon outdoor pool on campus next to Lot 10. Students with a valid Cougar Card can get into the pool free of charge.
The Student Fitness Center and RecPlex will generally see more use from summer camps and Springboard events over the summer, but they also offer classes. They can be found at https://www.siue.edu/campus-recreation/programs-services/group-fitness-schedule.shtml. They are limited during the summer, but Campus Recreation is looking to add more going into the fall, including new classes.
Students can also rent bikes for free from the bike share program and equipment like tents, coolers, cornhole/bag sets and more from equipment issue.