Construction projects set to rejuvenate campus

** This story has been corrected to accurately represent the title of O. Homer Erekson, the John V. Roach Dean of the Neeley School of Business and professor of Managerial Economics and Strategy.**

The construction of new buildings and facilities on TCU’s campus emphasizes Chancellor Victor Boschini’s belief in the importance of first impressions.

The campus has undergone a revitalization in the last two years, spurred by a desire to create a welcoming and productive academic environment, and more projects are on the horizon.

New Halls

Marion and P.E. Clark Halls opened in August 2013.

The buildings stand four stories high and are equipped with suite-style living, like the halls in the commons.

Both buildings cost about $20 million and were a new addition to Worth Hills, Provost Nowell Donovan said.

Another residential hall in Worth Hills opened its doors in August 2014 and was officially named Hays Hall.

All three buildings that students refer to as “New Halls” primarily accommodate sophomore living and are equipped with study lounges and key card access.

Multi-purpose building

The multi-purpose facility opened in Worth Hills in January.

The new facility incorporates an open area for students to eat, study and hang out with their friends.

The first floor hosts several restaurants on the first floor while the second floor of the building has larger rooms that can be used to host TCU events or offer students a quieter place to study.

The building has yet to be given an official name, but students said they like the openness of the space.

Junior marketing major Spencer Traver said he enjoys studying and visiting with friends in the building.

“It’s got a nice open feel and I can always go and get coffee to drink while I’m there,” Traver said.

The facility also offers outdoor seating for students to study or eat outside.

Mary Couts Burnett Library

Returning students came back to a newly completed entrance for the Mary Couts Burnett library in August 2014.

Renovations are still under way for the inside of the library. This portion of the project is expected to be completed on Oct. 1.

The renovation will provide more study spaces for students that will include quiet and conversational sections for both group and solo studying, Library Dean June Koelker said.

Koelker said TCU study spaces are evolving to incorporate more visual displays of information, and the new library will accomplish that.

The building will also include its own section for graduate study and will mirror the look of Rees-Jones Hall.

Rees-Jones Hall

TCU introduced a new way of learning when Rees-Jones Hall opened in August 2014.

The building stretches more than 62,000 square feet and cost $27.2 million.

Rees-Jones Hall houses the TCU Idea Factory, the TCU Energy Institute and the Institute for Child Development.  However, Donovan said the building belongs to everyone.

The second floor of the building provides study pods for students that can be reserved for group projects or solo studying.

Students said they enjoy the innovative classrooms and study spaces and like the fact that they can write on the walls.

“Rees-Jones is an easily accessible place to study after class because that’s right where all my classes are, and you can write on the walls,” said Christina DeMarois, junior strategic communication major.

Colby Hall

Colby Hall completed its major renovation this year.

The all-female hall reopened for first-year students at the beginning of the school year.

The building incorporates an open feel with plenty of natural lighting, said Craig Allen, director of Housing and Residence Life.

Although all the rooms are new, residents can see the biggest difference in the dormitory’s basement.

Before the renovation, Colby’s basement primarily consisted of washers and dryers. Now it has spaces for laundry, studying, baking and socializing.

Residents are now referring to the basement as the “Colby Cove,” Allen said.

He said Colby will be the last dorm to be renovated before construction begins for Greek housing.

Parking garage

TCU’s first parking garage opened earlier this year in place of Lot 5.

The parking garage contains 992 parking spots and is designed with TCU brick.

Donovan said the design of the parking structure is aesthetically pleasing to help accommodate nearby residents.

The garage will also be able to provide more student and alumni parking.

“We have 300 more spaces in the garage for alumni and visitors who have to make a very long walk,” said Harold Leeman, associate director for major projects and facilities planning. “This is an alumni, student and community relations garage.”

Daniel-Meyer Athletic Complex 

The Daniel-Meyer Athletic Complex is currently undergoing its first major renovation since its construction in 1956.

The construction crew is working hard to redo the complete exterior and interior of the facility.

The court itself will be sunken, and the building will include offices for both the male and female basketball coaches, said Donovan.

The basketball section of the complex was renamed the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Coliseum after the Schollmaiers donated $10 million to the project this summer.

The stadium was originally supposed to be completed in fall 2015, but the completion date was delayed due to weather and unexpected construction issues.

The $45 million renovation is now expected to be completed in time for the first basketball game on Nov. 8, Donovan said.

Construction crews said they are working hard to finish construction.

“We have been working Saturdays and Sundays for months now,” project manager Wesley Hokanson said. “We are starting no later than 7 a.m.”

Rees-Jones/Library walkway

The construction of the overpass connecting the Mary Couts Burnett Library and Rees-Jones Hall is also underway.

The walkway is part of the “emancipation walk,” Donovan said.

“The idea is that students will walk from the library, with the slogan ‘Knowledge is Power,’ to Rees-Jones, and that slogan is ‘Knowledge is Empowerment,'” Donovan said.

The walkway is designed with archways that Donovan referred to as the “corridors of imagination.”

Greek development

The next big development for TCU will be new Greek facilities.

Each Greek house will be four stories high and will have a combination of single and double-sized rooms.

The fourth floor will have suite-style living to accommodate those with leadership positions in the chapters.

Each chapter will also have the opportunity to design their chapter room.

“We are going to give them empty chapter rooms, and they get to design those,” said Michael Russel, assistant vice-chancellor for student affairs.

“They will have a fair amount of latitude of what they will look like inside,” said Russel.

Construction will start after the Greek parking structure is completed. It will begin with sorority houses and then fraternity houses will follow shortly after, Donovan said.

Brachman/Greek parking garage

Construction began on the Worth Hills parking garage this past summer.

The garage is the first step in the process of renovating the entire Greek community.

The garage will provide parking for residents who live in Greek housing and Worth Hills. It will be multi-level so students can enter from the Greek as well as the creek below.

Construction is in the early stages but will look similar to the parking structure located in Lot 5.

Business school commons

Spencer and Marlene Hays donated $30 million in August 2014 to renovate the business school.

The renovation will include an auditorium, two new buildings and a complete renovation of the existing Smith, Rogers and Tandy Halls, Donovan said.

The business school is changing the way it approaches learning and engagement by adding more spaces for collision opportunities, said O. Homer Erekson, the John V. Roach Dean of the Neeley School of Business and professor of Managerial Economics and Strategy.

Smith Hall will be renovated to promote entrepreneurship. The bottom level of the building will include workspaces for students to work, talk with employers or start up their own student companies, Erekson said.

Rogers Hall will be torn down for complete renovation. The first floor will include dinning options to meet the needs of hungry students, Erekson said.

All the buildings will be connected so students can move from one building to the next.

The renovation will also include an outside courtyard for students to sit and study or hang out with friends.

The business school is still looking for donors to cover the rest of the cost, but hopes to start construction in May 2016, Erekson said.