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December 16, 2005

Campus Improvements Continue at ULM

As the old year comes to a close, a new year at the University of Louisiana at Monroe welcomes continued campus improvements and plans for the future.

When students return for the spring 2006 semester, they should be able to enjoy Bayou Walk, a picturesque and secure footpath situated between University House and the ULM Library.

Several projects are underway that should enhance the reliability and comfort of campus buildings. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and electrical systems are currently being replaced at the Wigwam Dining Facility. After completion of the new Student Union Building, the Wigwam will become the Clarke M. Williams Student Success Center, designed to aid students in all aspects of their educational and professional journeys.

Reroofing of Hanna Hall has begun. Caldwell Hall’s HVAC system will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected over the 2005-06 semester break, while Brown Theater will receive new air handling units. Improvements to the Brown Hall HVAC system will begin this summer. 

Schulze Dining Hall’s HVAC system is also being replaced. Its exterior will be repainted during the 2005-06 semester break and will gain a color scheme to better complement the new housing facilities. A crosswalk is planned to link Schulze with the Bayou Suites Apartments (located on the former Olin Hall site), thus increasing pedestrians’ safety.

The Student Housing Project remains on schedule and under budget in its construction of seven new buildings, consisting of three new apartment structures, three new residential dorm style buildings and the new Student Health and Counseling Center, which was opened in the fall 2005 semester. The new apartments have already been completed and also became occupied by ULM students during this same semester. Bayou Suites Apartments, the first of the suite style dormitories, should receive the same treatment during the spring 2006 semester.

The other two new suite buildings are under construction. One will include retail spaces on the first floor that will offer residents convenient access to popular businesses. Part of the housing project includes demolishing Breard, Harris, Cosper and Lemert Halls as well as the old infirmary building after the spring 2006 semester. The space these structures currently occupy will become a scenic park with an amphitheater on the bayou.

Plans are to engage a firm to design and construct an intermodal transit facility and parking lot improvements along DeSiard Street. The intermodal transit facility will consist of a transit office, bus loading area, public restrooms, and a large parking garage. The DeSiard Street parking lots will be reconstructed and reconfigured for easier use and better aesthetics. A brick and wrought iron fence will border the campus along the entire stretch of DeSiard St. from Stadium Dr. to University Ave. Monument markers featuring ULM signs will grace the campus entrances at both of these streets. The project will begin during the spring 2006 semester.

The state is in the process of finalizing the purchase of the old State Farm Building located on Bienville Drive for the ULM College of Pharmacy. Planned renovations currently call for the most efficient adaptation of the space. Tentative plans are to move most pharmacy classes into the Bienville Building for the fall 2006 semester, depending on funding and regulatory issues pertaining to this project. 

The Student Union Renovation Project is currently underway and will culminate with both the completion of the new Student Union Building as well as the finished renovation of the old one. The first floor of the newer building will be converted to a state-of-the-art dining facility featuring Subway, Chick-Fil-A, Freshen’s Yogurt and Mexican food, among other quality choices for students. Further planned features include a games area, campus post office and coffee shop. The second floor will showcase a ballroom intended for multiple purposes.

The old Student Union Building will house offices for student organizations on the first floor and offices intended for student affairs employees on the second one. Planned occupation for both new buildings is during the late fall 2006 semester.

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