October 25, 2007
A major $7 million renovation to provide a new student union at Johnson State College has been approved by Vermont State Colleges’ Board of Trustees.
The board gave approval at its October 25 meeting for the renovation of Stearns Hall, which currently houses the college dining facilities, post office, campus bookstore, Women’s Center, performance space, a conference room, and public safety office.
The transformed state-of-the-art building will host student government association offices, a performance venue, film viewing space, computer kiosks and meeting spaces. Renovations to the 38-year-old building will include adding a glass exterior addition and a new fireplace lounge.
According to President Barbara E. Murphy, the building will provide a focus for the student community on campus. “At Johnson, we pride ourselves on the quality of our community. I view the work we’re beginning on Stearns less as a renovation and more as a ‘transformation’ of our current facility. We’re creating a place for students to gather for activities as diverse as small study groups, conversation, music, film-viewing, game-playing, meals together.”
Murphy describes the architectural and visual goals for the facility: “We plan to tie this building to the rest of the campus through careful landscaping and the increased use of glass to maximize solar gain and ‘anchor’ this very central building on the Quad.”
Financial donors to the college will have the opportunity to invest in the facility through naming opportunities that are currently a part of the college’s first comprehensive major gifts campaign.
“The renovated Stearns Hall will be a central focus for the campus,” said JSC dean of administration Sharron Scott. “Overall, it’s an incredibly exciting change. We anticipate a March start date, and the architects Freeman French Freeman of Burlington are planning the construction schedule at this time.”
The VSC Board of Trustees also approved four other projects at Johnson State College, bringing the total cost of capital projects at the college this academic year to $9.25 million.
Gateway to the Campus - a $1 million reconfiguration to create an inviting, visitor-friendly approach to the college. The entrance, from which visitors access the Dibden Center for the Arts , will receive new landscaping to provide natural shading, improved pedestrian walkways, and a passenger drop-off area for performing arts events;
SHAPE Facility and Repairs - includes a new Varsity gym floor, bleacher replacement, and renovations to the college fitness center, which is available for use by community members;
Science and Curricular Area Renovations - the college’s Environmental Sciences program will benefit from improvements to science labs and classrooms, and the Visual Arts Center will see renovations that include adding new studios for digital media, graphic design, photography, and art classes.
Southeast Campus Primary Electrical Replacement - moving an electrical primary station and connecting it to college apartments and the maintenance garage.
For more information, contact Dean of Administration Sharron Scott at 802-635-1208 or Sharron.Scott@jsc.edu. President Murphy is available to meet with members of the press.
Contact Stephen Mills at 802-635-1416 to arrange an interview.