Reid walker

Staff Writer


Students returned to Davidson to find the construction on campus a shock; three short months have advanced the progress of the Academic Neighborhood tremendously. With the extension of Baker Sports Complex near completion, and the New Academic Building taking shape, the summer provided time and space for hard-workers to help in the evolution of Davidson. At the end of the last academic year, the new academic building (behind Little Library and Chambers) was in primary stages of construction – as one upperclassmen eloquently said. “It was basically just poles sticking out of the ground.” However, after a summer of incredible work, the building is taking form. David Holthouser, Director of Facilities, explains that all the new sod on campus demonstrates the progress this summer: “Outside the building, we took the opportunity of the summer to deliver utilities to the building. Chilled water approaches the building between Chambers and the Library. Electricity approaches the building from Richardson Stadium. Water lines approach the building along Faculty Drive. Steam approaches the building from D Road. Thus, all of these areas saw mass excavation and utility piping this summer.” According to Holthouser the exterior of the building will be completed soon. Starting in the coming weeks, brick masons will start to give the building its “brick skin.” During the summer, Holthouser reported, “exterior walls were enclosed” and “windows were installed.” With mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades providing services for the first two floors of the building, construction is hard at work on the top floor now. Progress has been steady and swift for the planned $74 million project. The extension of Baker Sports Complex, the Harry L. Vance Athletic Center, will be finished in October. Right now, Holthouser says, “finishing touches” are being applied to the $13 million project. On completion, the athletic complex will have “two practice courts, locker room facilities for men’s and women’s basketball, offices for men’s and women’s basketball, two dance studios, a relocated Hall of Fame and a new ticket office and window.” Several other projects also occurred over summer. One is the renovation of the Martin Court B residence hall. John Christian, a construction project manager, oversaw the project, in which all 12 apartments were internally demolished, leading way to new plumbing, painting, and more. “It takes a pretty big contractor crew to meet the short summer window,” Holthouser said in reference to the project. Another major construction project over the summer was the creation of a storm water detention basin behind Alumni Soccer Stadium. The project, overseen by Assistant Director of Grounds Charles Jolly, is incredibly important, as “storm water detention is a County and State regulatory mandate.” The basin is two acres, and it works by collecting rain water, holding it and then slowly releasing it through a series of pipes back into the tributary. The work done this summer to progress the New Academic Neighborhood marks success in the next stage of liberal arts life at Davidson, and this is only the beginning. Next, Chemistry will move into the new building while the Martin Science Building is renovated next year. New projects are being planned now so construction does not stop. Eventually, the plan is to improve several more buildings, including Chambers and Little Library. However, the Academic Neighborhood project intentionally added flexibility to plans in order to achieve the best results for the evolution of Davidson.