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Sidewalk Construction at N.H. Hall Takes Advantage of a Good Opportunity

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
September 8, 2010

A gift that funded a new fully accessible classroom in New Hampshire Hall has provided a little seed money and a lot of inspiration to redo the front entrance as well.

Currently there is a wooden ramp and a set of concrete steps leading into the building. The sidewalk in front along Main Street is in poor shape. Renovations, set to begin Friday, Sept. 10, and be completed by Sept. 30, will rectify both situations. The work will result in limited sidewalk access for periods of time during the three weeks.

“We don’t usually do construction work on sidewalks during the school year but this was too good an opportunity to pass up,” says Larry Van Dessel, executive director of Facilities, Design and Construction.

Here’s what led to that opportunity: During recent renovations to New Hampshire Hall, one of two gymnasiums was reconfigured, with a mezzanine added in the front of the room. That created a perfect space for a large classroom, Van Dessel said.

Grants and a generous gift from Dr. Paul J. (‘58) and Bunny Hannaway allowed the work to be done. An elevator, added during the New Hampshire Hall renovations, makes the 125-seat Hannaway Lecture Hall fully accessible.

“It’s a bit more upscale than your average classroom,” Van Dessel says, describing its two chandeliers and carpeted floor. “The idea is that it can be used for social events as well.”

With that in mind, collapsible tables and chairs were purchased, and a storage area was built, so the room could be “cleared” for other use. It’s also air conditioned.

But there wasn’t enough money in the budget to redo New Hampshire Hall’s front entrance.  There was some, but not enough. Then opportunity knocked. The College of Health and Human Services and The Affirmative Action and Equity Office offered to contribute funds, and a new plan was hatched.

That plan calls for demolishing the existing wooden ramp and deteriorating sidewalk, adding new concrete steps, and building dual ramps-- one ramp leading the Whittemore Center and the other toward downtown.

Prior to the start of construction, automatic door openers will be added to building’s Congreve and parking lot entrance.

“It represents such a significant improvement that waiting until next summer was an undesirable option,” Van Dessel says. “Hopefully, the work won’t be too disruptive.”

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