by Tyler Maritote
The west side of Bradley’s campus has a new welcome sign:
“Welcome to Bradley University, please excuse our dust.”
That side of the campus is undergoing extensive construction with new additions, renovations and buildings, the most recent of which are renovations to Westlake Hall and the beginning of the construction of the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center.
“When completed, Westlake will be six times larger than its original size and be our most up to date academic building on campus,” Pat Vickerman, the Vice President for Advancement, said.
Even though the size of Westlake, which houses the college of education and health sciences, will eventually increase, it has caused a lack of space in the meantime, forcing Bradley to lease the vacant spaces in Campustown formerly known as Save-a-Lot and Blockbuster.
Most of the classes in Westlake will be relocated to other buildings on campus, such as Bradley Hall. However, even though the Campustown spaces will house mostly faculty offices, there will be four classrooms.
Janira Del Valle, a secondary education major at Bradley, isn’t too excited about potentially having a class in Campustown.
“I want to be able to show my parents a nice classroom,” she said. “But I guess that depends on how well they remodel.”
Del Valle’s biggest concern, though, came with a laugh.
“I hope it doesn’t still smell like food!” she said.
In all, the revamped Westlake will cost $22 million and take two years to complete. And it’s only one of six projects funded by the Renaissance Campaign that will be or have been built on the west side of the campus.
The Markin Family Student Recreation Center was finished last fall. The Athletic Performance Arena, which will be home to the women’s basketball and volleyball teams, along with the Puterbaugh Men’s Basketball Practice Facility, are scheduled to finish this summer with the grand openings coming in the fall.
Once completed, the faculty offices that remain in the old Haussler Hall will move to the performance arena, eliminating the need for the old building.
“Eventually Haussler Hall will be demolished to make way for an Alumni Quad on the west side of campus,” Vickerman said. “There is no exact timetable for that demolition, but we expect it could occur a year from now.”
Other buildings on the chopping block are Jobst and Baker Hall. Bradley is still raising funds, via the Renaissance Campaign, for the Engineering and Business Convergence Center, which will eliminate the need for the buildings.
“Current plans call for those buildings to be razed and replaced with the Convergence Center,” Vickerman said.
The Renaissance Campaign is nearing its goal of $150 million, with $133 million in the books, the most ever raised by a Bradley fundraiser.
“The Renaissance Campaign has flourished thanks to the generosity of alumni, faculty and staff, friends, corporations, foundations, and parents of Bradley students,” Vickerman said.
With just $17 million needed for a new engineering and business building, the Renaissance Campaign won’t give up.
According the Vickerman, they won’t stop until they meet their $150 million goal.