While Lehigh is in the process of renovating the University Center and the Chandler-Ullmann building as part of the Path to Prominence initiative, students and faculty are adjusting to the relocation of offices now and in the future.
University Architect Brent Stringfellow said the main changes to the UC include a complete renovation of the original 1868 building, the removal of the addition built in 1958 and the building of a new addition back onto the original. This construction may start as early as summer 2020, however, there is no set date.
“The idea here is restoring the original building for its historic value and so forth and, with the new addition, being able to provide the modern facilities, which really are required for contemporary student life,” Stringfellow said. “This will support not only upgraded dining services but support student organizations, student activities and more casual spaces students can use on a day-to-day basis.”
Ricardo Hall, vice provost of student affairs, said Lamberton Hall may be repurposed as a temporary dining space as the UC undergoes renovations. During renovations, all dining places in the UC, including Lower Cort and retail dining on the second floor of the UC, will be closed.
“We have 18 months to a couple years, however long it takes to renovate the UC,” Hall said. “In that time, all dining cannot happen in places like Rathbone and Brodhead. The dining space we have was not built to accommodate the volume of students we have — that’s why we’ve had dining in the UC. We’re trying to explore all options.”
Offices located in the UC will also be relocated for the duration of the renovations.
Chandler-Ullmann Hall is under construction and is set to be completed in July.
Stringfellow said the purpose of Chandler-Ullmann Hall’s renovations is to improve spaces for the psychology and math departments, as well as include new academic offices and classrooms.
While under construction, a lot of the offices from the UC are moving to Christmas-Saucon, which houses the math department. Stringfellow said the math department will relocate to Chandler-Ullmann when renovations are complete to open up spaces in Christmas-Saucon for other offices.
The Center for Gender Equity is a popular place for students to spend time because they come to the UC for meals and meetings.
Rita Jones, the director of the Center for Gender Equity, agrees that the UC is in need of renovation but is mostly concerned with the visibility of the offices being temporarily moved to Christmas-Saucon.
“I think the time period for temporary relocation and then back to where we are is really in my head, and I’m trying to plan for that even now and since last semester,” Jones said.
Jones said she has noticed students tend to drop by before or after they have an obligation in the UC. They are not always there solely to visit the center.
Another major concern for Jones is the potential loss of space in Lamberton and in the UC for student activities and meetings.
“If I am working toward an inclusive community, that means I got to have lots of people,” Jones said. “Where are all these people going to be if we don’t have these large spaces to do things together? What does that do to community building, and how will we re-acclimate students to get out and be with other people?”