As the students of Springfield College made their way back to campus after a relaxing summer, it was more than apparent that the college spent its summer hard at work.
A beautiful “welcome” arch graces the entrance of the school on the west end of Alden Street. Locklin Hall received a much needed facelift, not to mention a safer stairwell and the soon to be addition of a Starbucks coffee shop. And if there weren’t enough triangles on campus already, just take a gander at the new fences surrounding Gulick Hall. These changes, although recent, have been in the works for quite some time and are just the beginning of something new for the school.
“President Flynn was a master at planning. He had all these plans of what he wanted to do before 2020 or before he left, and he gave all of this information to President Cooper,” stated Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students David Braverman. “This year President Cooper is going to be working on what to do with the master plan. She’s very collaborative, and will be speaking with plenty of people around campus.”
Along with all the changes on the outside of the campus, one of the biggest changes that Springfield College underwent was the refurnishing of the first-year residence halls, a project that cost the school over a million dollars.
Home to Humanics in Action Day and numerous clubs that better the community, Springfield College wouldn’t be Springfield College if the changes on campus didn’t somehow benefit an outside cause.
“The new furniture that they bought was from a company that has a lot of green initiatives,” said Dr. John Parrot, the director of sustainability and land use management. “The furniture that we purchased was very environmentally sensible…there were a lot of green successes in the purchase of that furniture.”
The company used very little virgin timber, a lot of manufactured wood products, and made use of post-consumer products, all initiatives that benefit the environment.
Over the last few years Springfield College has worked very hard to turn its campus “green.” Whether that be motion lights or giving students reusable water bottles, the little things add up, something that Parrot believes is very important.
“Ultimately our task as a school is to educate young people and challenge their minds to do things,” stated Parrot. “This is one way to do that, to make it evident that this ‘Nalgene bottle’ might seem like a small thing, but using it over time can make a big change.”
The last big change that Springfield College made over the summer was the acquisition of properties on Hickory Street. With Springfield growing each year, it is only natural for the school to have a need to expand, and this could happen soon in the upcoming years.
“The school is looking to increase its campus in a westerly direction. What we are hoping to do is to make some lemonade out of lemons,” said Parrot. “When the tornado came through it was devastating to both the college and the neighborhood, so now we are in a position to acquire some properties that quite frankly were destroyed during the tornado…the college is certainly excited about a westward expansion.”
Although the plans for Hickory Street are still far away from their final conception, there has been talk about expanding the blue light system to allow students safer access to that area, as well as a possible outside exercise area.
Speculation is speculation, but one thing is for sure – change certainly seems to be in the air for Springfield College.