by Grace Pardun Alworth, M.Div. Middler
Beginning May 13, Luther Seminary will execute its first major construction project since 1984, when the Olson Campus Center was originally built. "This move is motivated by the desire to create a warm, welcoming and hospitable environment on campus, with greater accessibility," said Don Lewis, vice president for finance and administration.
Along with offering better community gathering spaces, an additional lecture hall will be built, pending maintenance upgrades will be completed and improved accessibility options will be furnished.
Construction is expected to be completed by early September, in time for the start of the 2011-2012 school year.
During construction, various departments will have to be relocated to other parts of campus. Terry Boehlke, manager of the bookstore, said, "We will be trying to operate as close to normal as possible from the building that formerly housed Seraphim and Luther Productions." That building is located at 1568 Eustis St., between the missionary apartments and the Sandgren/Burntvedt apartments.
The Master of Sacred Music department offices will also be temporarily relocated to Room 243 in Northwestern Hall. Over the summer, chapel will be held in the same building. The M.S.M. department's biggest challenge will be protecting the instruments during renovation. "This is no small task, as you can imagine. It means making sure every door and each nook and cranny of the ventilation system be tightly sealed to prevent dust from floating into the space," said Kristin Rongstad, M.S.M. administrative assistant.
The dining room will remain open throughout the summer for normal operation and will only be closed a few days for its own renovation. Some summer residences will also have to be relocated.
Losing important space on campus—even temporarily—is a challenge, said Lewis, but "the end result will be worth the inconvenience. We are expecting it to boost the quality of community life."