Summer jobs: Construction projects underway at NCC campus

When fall semester begins Sept. 15, North Central College students will have new room for learning — and relaxing.

A handful of projects under way this summer are making upgrades to the downtown Naperville campus that are designed to meet the needs of its robust enrollment, which has more than doubled since the early 1990s.

Oesterle Library is taking on new assignments with the completion of a reconfiguration that is carving out new learning spaces and creating other areas for study and storage of instructional media.

On the first floor, what used to be home to the Dr. Lora L. Tyson Education Curriculum Resource Center is now the site of 50 new computer stations, and the new location for the Class of 1997 Computer Lab, which held just 16 stations in its previous space.

“This has been a high priority,” said John Small, who occupies the Clare and Lucy Oesterle Director of Library Services endowed chair, on the college website. “This new lab is so important for the staff and what we do.”

The former computer lab will now be used for solitary study, and the items in the Tyson center are being moved to the periodicals room on the library’s lower level. A new classroom is also being built on the lower level, with movable furniture and capacity for 56 students, in an area that used to include a kitchen and instructional media storage.

The first of a two-part overhaul at Kaufman Dining Hall also is in the works this summer. Portions of the kitchen and dock area are being enlarged to accommodate the increased student population, and to facilitate catering services.

“We’re serving 800 to 900 students per meal and handling more catering,” said Steve Martens, director of dining services for Chartwells, the college’s contracted foodservice provider. “We needed more prep area because we didn’t have the physical space to add staff.”

Students will come back to the cafeteria this fall to find a new brick oven and a relocated bakery. The subsequent phase of the cafeteria upgrades, scheduled for the December term, will include a complete remodeling and reconfiguration of the serving area.

Adjacent to Seager Residence Hall, lounge space is being renovated this summer as well. Staff members in the student affairs department noted a need during a tour of NCC facilities.

“This was a space that we felt students could get excited about,” said Jeremy Gudauskas, associate dean of students, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at North Central. “So we pitched the idea to Student Governing Association.”

Members of the SGA liked the idea of enhancing the lounge with a recreation room that would provide more gathering space, and agreed to help fund an adjacent outdoor patio.

“These spaces will be designed for all students, residents and commuters,” Gudauskas said. “Our philosophy is that all spaces are for everyone.”

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