The construction of Lehigh’s new police department is underway, and the Lehigh University Police Department is preparing to relocate to the the building to create a safer campus environment.
Construction began on the $4.9 million project on Sept. 7. Despite the blizzard in January and the consistently cold temperatures, the project has not been held up or run over budget, according to Jeff Grimm, the associate vice president for facilities services and campus planning and projects. There have been a few challenges, but these have not impeded the progress of the construction crew, he said.
“There have been things happening that have challenged us in terms of schedule and budget, some issues with unsuitable souls during excavation and some steel issues erecting the superstructure,” Grimm said, “but certainly nothing out of the ordinary and nothing we didn’t handle and move forward from quickly.”
The police department has also been thoroughly involved in the construction by attending bi-weekly construction meetings with the project steering committee. Those involved in the committee include architects, contractors, environmental health and safety, contractors and Library and Technology Services.
Chief Edward Shupp said the construction is “on target.” There is brick on the rear of the building and the dry wall is being placed. Because of the weather, the building has been enclosed to prevent damages, but most of the interior is in the process of completion while they continue to add brick to the exterior. According to Grimm, the project is about 70 percent complete.
The new police department is located at the end of campus to allow police to have an impact on off-campus areas where students often live. Georgette Phillips, the dean of Rauch Business School, believes the department will be beneficial to undergraduate and graduate business students.
“It’s great to have the police across the street,” Phillips said. “Our MBA and undergraduates are there in the evening.”
While the construction and location of the new building are believed to add a positive contribution to Lehigh’s campus, some students are finding the construction inconvenient to their daily lives.
Anna Eggert, ’18, said the project has created some inconveniences.
“The construction has compromised parking and was especially problematic during the snow storm and when hoses were being used during demolition of the existing building,” Eggert said. “Students would have to take alternate routes to avoid getting sprayed.”
The construction will be complete late April and the police department, which remains operational on the second floor of Johnson Hall, plans to relocate following graduation.