The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


    Rebuilding efforts remain under construction

    Two years have been put into rebuilding Dillard University’s campus. Now in Fall 2007 construction workers are still part of the makeup at Dillard University. This extra accessory is one that leaves students wondering when the campus will be complete and return to normalcy.

    “There are issues in a recovery so large that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) had to step in,” said Edgar Chase, the dean of facilities management and facilities planning here at Dillard.

    In the beginning of the rebuilding process, Dillard University was required to do project worksheets to prove that the damage done to the campus was all storm-related. After the worksheets were approved by FEMA and funds were expended, Dillard administrators had to apply for reimbursement to continue the rebuilding.

    At this time, Dillard University has been dependent on insurance funds as well as funds that FEMA granted to the school. These funds have been the main source of monetary assistance in the past two years. The cooperation from FEMA and the insurance companies are integral to completing the job.

    Since both sources seem to be moving at a snail’s pace to reimburse the school, the rebuilding project has been slow as well.

    “If there was a full payout of FEMA and insurance, the project would have gone faster,” said Chase. “The campus of Dillard University is a signature brand image of Dillard University, so it is important to have high standards for the campus.”

    These high standards have also been a factor in this extended process. Dillard University administration is not only trying to rebuild the campus to its original state, but also has modernized it to fit the needs of the student in the 21st century.

    There are plans in Spring 2008 to bring an internet café to the bottom of Kearny Hall. The Alexander Library is also scheduled to be complete by December of this year at the latest, according to construction worker, Shawn Thread. Lines have already been laid for internet use within a contemporary version of the Alexander Library.

    “When students come back in January, they will be welcomed to a beautiful new library,” said Chase.

    Upon completion of the library, its’ temporary location, Henson Hall will turn into the temporary chapel. The chapel is also going to undergo a major renovation that is schedule to begin in January of 2008. The dark room in the Cook building is scheduled to open within a week.

    Although there has been a lot of progress made to the campus, there is still much work to be done. Rosenwald Hall has a huge amount of work that needs to be finished. Once Rosenwald is complete, Business and Finance, Financial Aid and the Registar will all be moved back into Rosenwald.

    “The one stop shop is there because we want students to focus on studying rather than what administration is doing.” Chase says.

    Focus will then move to the residential halls; Hartzell, Camphor and Straight. Moving administration back to its home will give us the opportunity to turn the three halls back into a residential living center according to Chase. There are plans to turn Hartzell and Camphor into a ‘living learning center’. Dillard University plans to make this hall a place where students can have tutorial after hours. There may be faculty who reside in the halls as well to further assist students with their work. Straight Hall will also be restored because of its historic significance as a residential hall on campus. There are not exact plans for Straight’s restoration as of now.

    Water drainage is one of the major components of the campus that is undergoing a lot of work. At the moment, there is an inconvenience on campus with construction workers digging between Kearny Hall and Dent Hall to repair old pipes. One goal of the rebuilding plan is to fix the drainage system.

    “This is hidden infrastructure, but in the end it will be safer for students,” said Chase.

    There are new fire alarm systems in all the apartments. However, there have been incidents where the New Orleans Fire Department has come to campus due to false alarms. According to Chase, the new fire alarm system is extremely sensitive and any slight tampering of the alarm will send a fire truck to the school.

    Parking is also another concern of the construction team for Dillard University. The construction team prefers that everyone park on the concrete lots and the gravel lots that are located behind the temporary bookstore and next to the modules. The gravel lots next to the modules are an indication that there are plans to put a permanent academic building in its place within the next three years.

    “For this campus to be this aesthetically beautiful, we have to practice discipline- administration, staff, and students- as to where we park,” said Chase.

    Chase declared that when a vehicle rolls over the grass it damages the sprinkling system. Chase describes Dillard University as a walker’s delight, but he has also noticed that many students are driving from Kearny Hall to the Cook Building and parking in inappropriate places.

    There was an incident where a person parked behind Kearny Hall and the pipes broke. Also, there was an occurrence where a student parked behind the President’s House and stopped the workers from continuing their work until the car was moved. However, Chase warns students that, “parking will soon be enforced,” and said that he hopes that students will take heed to it.

    The fitness center is now open and operating with state of the art equipment. The Dent Hall Swimming pool is also scheduled to open between late September and early October.

    “We encourage students to get fit physically as the teachers will be trying to get them fit academically,” said Chase.

    There are also plans to place more benches around campus and to place a gate around the duck pond to make it more accessible to students.

    Many plans are being made for the new Dillard University. But only time will tell exactly what is in the future of the spacious green campus.

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    Rebuilding efforts remain under construction