07/24/06 — MOC students to see changes

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MOC students to see changes

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on July 24, 2006 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- New and returning students to Mount Olive College this fall will see more than a few changes to the surroundings, officials say.

In addition to ongoing construction projects around the campus, resident students will be in for a few surprises.

The women's dorm complex -- King, Hart and Griffin dormitories -- is undergoing major renovations, said Rhonda Jessup, director of public affairs for the college. The facilities are more than 40 years old and needed to be updated, she said.

The college is spending an estimated $750,000 in upgrades to the buildings. Primarily in the bathroom areas, changes include new showers, toilets, sinks, ceramic tile floors, lighting, a brand new vanity counter, new countertops and ventilation systems to improve humidity.

The male students have not been left out, though, Ms. Jessup said. As requested by student surveys and focus groups, Grantham Hall will receive new heating and air conditioning units that will have better filters to ensure proper cooling and control of humidity.

The area of student safety is also being addressed. Eleven blue light stations will be located in well-lit areas, with nine grounded stations strategically placed around campus and two in the stairwells of the new W. Burkette and Rose M. Raper Hall. When triggered, each station is programmed to alert campus safety.

As for construction projects that have been unfolding in recent years, Raper Hall will allow for larger and better-equipped science labs and classrooms, with a student lounge area and outdoor patio.

The Communications and Resources building will feature a state-of-the-art computer lab accessible to students on a continuous basis. Special lighting is also being installed that is supposed to reduce eyestrain often associated with excessive computer work. The building will also have the capacity to house about 49,000 additional books for student research.

The most anticipated addition for students, Ms. Jessup said, is Pope Wellness Center.

"In the past, students have had limited access to exercise equipment, weight machines and the basketball courts in Kornegay Arena because of team practices and games," she said. "Pope Wellness Center will be run by Student Development and is being constructed to meet the needs of students not participating in the college's athletic teams, although they too will benefit from its existence."

The Wellness Center will feature a weight and exercise room with wall-to-wall treadmills, stair climbers and free weights. A separate yoga/aerobics room will be customized with a resilient tile floor and wall-to-wall mirrors for individual use and classroom instruction. There will also be a regulation-size basketball court than can be subdivided into two smaller courts.

Health Services and Student Counseling will also relocate to the Wellness Center building.