Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Erickson residents prepare for renovations

Erickson’s C-wing stands empty as it prepares for renovations, set to begin Jan. 2024 and end Aug. 2024. Augustana College hopes to renovate the remaining wings of Erickson over three years, leaving its usual residents anticipating an updated hall and scrambling for housing. 

Erickson, built in 1966, houses up to 350 sophomores each year. According to Kirk Anderson, chief financial officer and vice president of administration, the hall’s HVAC system and pipes are showing their age, making the upcoming renovation necessary for the hall’s longevity. 

“We have a number of facilities here on campus that are older than Erickson, particularly Seminary and Andreen,” Anderson said. “The reason that we are moving to Erickson first is because the degree of issues that we’re having with Erickson right now are more severe.”

Erickson’s C-wing currently doesn’t look different aside from some missing flooring and ceiling tiles. Over the past months, Bush Construction has been gutting and preparing the floor for renovations.  

According to Chris Beyer, director of residential life, the college is working with architects and designers to establish the wing’s final renovation look, leaving construction on hold til the new year.  

“The whole purpose of this particular renovation was to upgrade the internals of the building,” Beyer said. “At the end of it, the building will look nicer, but the rooms are going to be the same size as what they were before. Not a whole lot of that is changing.” 

Anderson and Beyer said they hope the entire building will be renovated by the beginning of the 2026-2027 school year, but the renovated wings will become available to sophomores as they are finished. However, this plan is contingent upon available materials and the project’s budget. According to Anderson, the entire project’s budget currently sits at about $15 million.

“I don’t think there’s too much of a risk of not meeting that timeframe,” Anderson said. “The one thing that we’ve always been very concerned about, particularly after the pandemic, is just the availability of materials. But if we get things rolling by January, eight months is a long time to get that job done.”

An ongoing concern among students is the lack of housing for sophomores. To accommodate this concern, the college opened TLA housing for sophomores this year. With the larger First-Year class, even more TLA spaces will become sophomore housing next year.

“We’re going to have to re-designate a chunk of Swanson TLAs and Westerlin as sophomore housing for one or two years until the Erickson project is finished,” Beyer said. “We’re just going to have to be creative for a couple of years to make sure there’s enough space.”

According to Marlee Oros, a sophomore living in Erickson, residents have received, in Oros’ words, “no communication” from the college about renovations. 

“I do get a little bit worried sometimes, you know, just living in the building in general,” Oros said. “When I look over on my way to class and I see that a whole entire wing of a building I’m living in has plastic bags on the windows… It just worries me living in the building where this stuff is happening.”  

As Erickson goes forward with renovations, Anderson does not anticipate any issues affecting Erickson’s current residents. Once construction begins, Anderson said the college will be conscious of noise levels and alert residents when an issue could affect their day-to-day lives.

“More than anything, we’re just kind of excited to get this going,” Anderson said. “I’m sure the students are hopefully going to be excited about it, too.”

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