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Curious about construction on campus?

At a campus planning meeting on the evening of Tues., April 29, campus planners
explained current and future building projects, including a new student center to replace Rothwell Center.

Campus Architect Karen Fiene, Associate Vice President of Campus Facilities Karen Maggio and Campus Architectural Assistant Brian Harrington presented information on the work done on the President’s House, the Music Building, the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business and plans for a new student center.

The President’s House will be finished in June, making it the first out of the three current construction projects to be completed. President Holmgren lived off campus this year while the President’s House was seismically retrofitted. Also, dry rot was removed and drainage was fixed.

Construction on the Music Building will finish “during the fall semester,” according to Maggio. Along with fixing ceiling leaks and updating the bathrooms in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The concert hall was also renovated to improve the acoustics.

Mills College will hold a music festival in February of 2009 to celebrate the building’s reopening, according to Maggio.

The meeting also included a video that showed the architect plans for the new MBA building. It will have a green roof with native grasses – one of several environmental features included in the design in order to reach a LEED Gold Certification. Mills College attempts to make sure every building on campus reaches at least a Silver Certification, according to Fiene.

The building will include six new classrooms, several offices and conference rooms, a large reception space and a catering kitchen. No new parking will be added near the building but, Maggio said, more parking will probably be offered elsewhere on campus. The College expects construction to finish in June 2009.

The next building project for the Campus will be a new student center, which will replace the current Rothwell Center. However, the Julia Morgan-designed Student Union, Tea Shop dining room as well as the faculty dining room and lounge will be kept.

When asked why the building of the student center is prioritized after the President’s House as well as the Science, Music and MBA buildings, Fiene said, “housing and dining [projects] are the hardest to get funding for. The Science building, Music building and MBA building were all largely funded by private donations.”

Over the summer, drop structures on the creek, which prevent erosion, will be repaired. Harrington said he hoped to also remove non-native and invasive plants along the creek.

Other building plans not currently scheduled were discussed at the meeting, including the restoration of Lake Aliso, the restoration of the Wetmore Gate and fountain as well as more family housing.