Workers put finishing touches on new dorm

The wait is almost over.

After months of continuous construction, the keys to the new living and learning center will officially be handed over to Baker University Aug. 1.

“It’s two weeks ahead of schedule,” Gary Walbridge, director of the physical plant, said about the construction of the new facility, which is located on Seventh and Dearborn streets.

Throughout the summer months, site superintendent David Waddle said crews have been busy working on the interior of the structure.

Right now, Waddle said about 45 employees are working to finish up the electric, plumbing and other inside necessities. Many of them are working from 6:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Others are busy spending their weekends at the site.

“There’s a lot going on here,” Waddle said. “We’re just working a little bit at a time.”

Throughout the construction process, Waddle said weather has caused some delays.

“It caused problems at first, but now it seems to be cooperating a little bit more,” Waddle said.

Walbridge said the weather has not stopped the workers from finishing up the project.

“The weather has been challenging,” Walbridge said. “But (workers) have not let that slow them down.”

Associate Dean of Students Teresa Clounch said the rain and wind merely forced workers to spend time in other areas of the new residence hall.

“Interestingly enough with construction, if one project gets behind, they move forward with another thing,” she said.

Most of July will be spent arranging furniture, painting and making last minute touches, Clounch said.

“We’re ready to go,” she said. “We’re still meeting biweekly to make sure everything is on task.”

Clounch said at this rate, students will be able to move into the living and learning center upon arriving Aug. 23. Athletes will move in sooner.

Many entering freshmen have shown interest in living in the new residence hall, Clounch said.

“Some students have said they want to live in the living and learning center,” she said. “We’ve let them know there’s a limited space.”

As of the end of June, Clounch said Irwin Hall was completely full and the majority of Gessner Hall is occupied.

“There will still be a wing of Gessner for women,” she said. “We’re just looking at making sure we can find a space for everyone.”

Until students arrive in August, Clounch said the construction site will be busy, as workers will be finishing up the new residence hall.

“We have plenty of time to make sure everything is in place and in order,” she said.