Campus Construction Update, August 3, 2020
On this latest Campus Construction Update, Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Matt Dull chats with University Communications' Dave Blanks about safety measures that will be in place during Appalachian's fall 2020 move-in days, as well as the construction progress on the university's Laurel Creek Residence Hall.
DaveBlanks: Hey, folks. This is Dave Blanks from University Communications back with one of them, there Campus Construction Updates, joined once again by Matt Dull. Howdy, Matt.
Matt Dull: Hey, Dave. How are you?
DaveBlanks: I'm doing just fine — working, working. It's good to talk to you again. What are we going to cover? Last week was a good one. I enjoyed last week's Campus Construction Update. What do you want to start out with today for this one?
Matt Dull: I thought maybe we could go through construction updates and then maybe also just talk about move-in, which is just around the corner, starting this weekend.
DaveBlanks: Cool. Let's jump off with those updates. Can you hear my kids? They sound they're fighting a lion upstairs.
Matt Dull: Maybe they are!
DaveBlanks: It's their mom! Don't tell her I said that!
Matt Dull: Well, phase one we're about to wrap up phase one. It's kind of hard to believe. We've been talking about it for years. Giving construction updates since last February of 2019 on phase one, and we are about to open it up. So it's an exciting time. Thunder Hill Hall and Raven Rocks Hall will both be finishing their final inspection this week by both State Construction and town of Boone, and then getting their certificate of occupancy so we can begin occupying the building. So, those are those kind of final two critical path items for being able to have students move into the building and those will happen this week.
DaveBlanks: Awesome. Do we frame the certificate of occupancy? Is that something that hangs on the wall?
Matt Dull: It's not. It's not like a restaurant inspection or a restaurant health certificate kind of thing. Yeah.
DaveBlanks: You're going to keep it, aren't you? You're going to put it in your office.
Matt Dull: I might make a copy of it and put it in the office. Those kind of last two critical path items to being able to let students move in happen this week. You know, once that happens, we'll be doing things. One, letting students move in, but in Thunder Hill Hall, there's actually our new west campus desk. It's a service desk for students on west side of campus. We are moving that from Coltrane Hall over to Thunder Hill, and that's where students can pick up packages. That's where they pick up their key if they've lost their key or if they need to get a key to let themselves back in their room. It's kind of our key service desk for anything that the student needs, housing related, if they live on the west side of campus. So that new office, we got to move everything over to that office from Coltrane Hall. So that's also going to be happening later part of this week.
DaveBlanks: That's the one that has road access like right there on Stadium, right?
Matt Dull: That is correct. So the service desk is literally right there on the road. There's an entrance on both sides of the building that goes right into the service desk area. So, you know, students who are living in Gardner/Coltrane, they literally would just have to walk right over Stadium Drive and then walk right in the building to the service desk. Students that live over towards the new Stadium Parking Deck, like Frank, Belk, Newland, Eggers, Bowie can come in through the courtyard side of the building and get right to that service desk. So, it's a nice central location, especially once we finish New River Hall in 2022, that building will be kind of central to all of the residents over there. It's also right next to Trivette Hall, which is the main dining hall for west campus. That service desk, it's really exciting to have that opening up as part of the first phase and get that out of Coltrane.
DaveBlanks: Perfect. What else? So we got the certificate of occupancy. We got moving stuff into the service office. What is it called? The student service office?
Matt Dull: It's our service desk. It's our housing service desk for west campus. Yeah.
DaveBlanks: Moving stuff into the service desk. What else we got going on?
Matt Dull: Yeah. You know, after our hall staff moves in, our RAs, our resident director RD, or coordinator, who's kind of over that residential area, not just Thunder Hill Hall, but Raven Rocks and other residence halls in that area, they'll move in this week. Students will start moving in on Saturday, August the eighth, we start our early move-in period. So you got two days of early move-in. Those are students that are involved in some of our Residential Learning Communities or different groups. They might be helping with our Trailhead Academy, which starts next Monday for all of our students, which is part of our orientation process for all of our new students. Those leaders move in on Saturday and Sunday so they can get ready for orientation next week. So, we'll do some early move-in over the weekend. And then, starting on Monday, August the 10th, we will begin our general student population move-in and that'll take place throughout the week.
Matt Dull: Our move-in day is going to look a little bit different ... actually probably a lot different. You know, traditionally people have had, you know, we've got lots of volunteers out, with parent volunteers and student volunteers and faculty and staff, volunteers that help with that move-in day, with those obnoxiously bright T-shirts just so you can recognize who's helping move in folks.
DaveBlanks: So many of them! So many volunteers.
Matt Dull: Yeah. Hundreds of volunteers that have traditionally helped out with that day. Unfortunately, we're not going to have those volunteers this year. And part of that is just to reduce the amount of people that are physically in the buildings at one time and kind of the common spaces and elevators and lobbies. We are really trying to phase out the move-in process to eliminate just how many people people are having to interact with on those days. You know, we've traditionally had kind of one day for all of our first-year freshmen students to move in. That's now going to be phased out over four days. Our new first-year students and transfer students will be moving in between August the 10th and August the 13th. And they will have an assigned move-in date and an assigned move-in time, either in the morning slot or the afternoon slot. That specific assignment allows us to really spread out just how many people are on every floor and in each building at a given time. So that instead of trying to move in 300 people into a building with all of their belongings and their parents and all of our move-in volunteers, you know, where you could have a really high density of people and elevators and lobbies. It will look very different because we're really talking about, you know, 20 or 30 people in those kinds of spaces, at each move-in time.
Matt Dull: So it's going to look very different, but hopefully it will be a much safer experience for people at this time and limit the amount of people in there, and also allow us to be able to appropriately physically distance from each other as we're moving in. We're having to change things like elevator capacity and how many people can be in an elevator at a certain time. Folks will have to wear masks when they're on campus and when they're moving themselves or helping someone move in. We are having to limit the number of people in the building with the student. We will have to limit the number of people to one helper for the student coming into the building at a time. And again, you know, that was a really hard decision to do that, because move-in is such a special day for people and, you know, we're not limiting necessarily how many people are able to come, you know, to Boone. And certainly people can come with larger groups of folks, but in the buildings, we really need cooperation with parents and families of really only one move-in helper per student. And again, that's so we can have a smooth move-in day. We can limit the number of people in the buildings, limit the number of people in each room, limit the number of people on the elevators and in the lobbies and common spaces. So that can be a safe process for all of our students that are trying to start their semester.
DaveBlanks: They can take turns, right?
Matt Dull: They can take turns. They can wait in the car, or meet their student later or come back later to see their student. But yeah, it's really just trying to balance the amount of people that are in all the common spaces in the building. It just will begin to become very difficult to physically distance from other people if you have all the building residents, plus all of their families and all of their stuff and belongings that they're trying to get into their residence halls.
Matt Dull: We really just have to kind of limit the number of visitors we have in the building at a given time.
DaveBlanks: So that'll be August the 10th, which is Monday, through the 13th, which is Thursday, and that's all freshmen and first-year students. Are they staggering by the day? Like, OK, today it's going to be the, A last names through the F's, or something like that?
Matt Dull: It's not necessarily by last name. It's really kind of trying to do it by floor and by building. So, it may not perfectly work out by letter of last name. So each person will have an assignment that they will be able to go into their housing portal and see their assigned date and time. And that'll be based on, you know, how many people we can have move in to each floor of the building at a time.
DaveBlanks: OK. It sounds so futuristic — the housing portal! All right. Well, that's pretty concise explanation of what move-in day is going to look like. Did you have more info about move-in day or tips?
Matt Dull: Let's see, continuing students, so those students that are upperclassmen or that have lived on campus again, they will move in between August the 14th and August the 16th. So, we do have scheduled set times for them to move in. All of this, again, to try to really reduce the amount of extra people, and then how many people are in those kind of common spaces and elevators in the, maybe in the buildings. And hopefully it will make it a more positive experience for everyone, that they're not having to, kind of, fight everybody else coming in and out of the buildings and in the elevators. It will probably feel a lot different and just feel like there's less people moving in at a time. And that's because there will be; there'll be a lot less people kind of moving in at each time.
DaveBlanks: It sounds like it'll be a lot calmer, actually.
Matt Dull: Probably a lot calmer. Right. We're spreading out what used to be a one-day process into four days.
DaveBlanks: It's exciting. I've covered move-in day for my podcast, "Dave by the Bell," which has sort of been on the shelf because it involves me interviewing students usually, but there haven't been too many of them on campus. But, I've covered move-in day quite a few times. It is exciting, and there are so many people, but it always works out. The students always get moved in and I'm sure this year it's going to be exactly the same way. We're going to get through it and it'll work. It sounds like that's a great plan to me.
Matt Dull: Yeah. Well we hope so. We hope it'll maybe take some of the chaotic nature of move-in day and make it a little bit easier on everyone.
DaveBlanks: I didn't say chaos, but you could easily say that.
Matt Dull: Should I not use the word chaos? No, I mean, you know, it's organized chaos is what move-in day has traditionally been. And we had already started making plans to move to a two-day move-in for our first-year students this year, before March of this year. We were already making plans, again, to start spreading that out a little bit, allowing students to have multiple days to move in and really help with things like traffic flow and just making it a more positive experience for students. We were already moving in that direction. Now we're moving towards more of a four-day move-in for students instead of a two-day move in, which is where we were headed already for this fall.
DaveBlanks: Hey, Matt, you know, the road that runs, like, from the old Stadium Lot area to, like, connect in front of the Schaefer Center, you know, that one? Where are we on that part of the plan?
Matt Dull: That road is open. It's a mixed kind of use. It's usually closed during the school year. It's a pedestrian walkway. It's got the pavers that you see everywhere on campus. So it looks like a pedestrian walkway. We will actually be using that for the moving period. So students that live in Raven Rocks, Thunder Hill, Bowie, Eggers, Frank, Belk and Newland, all of those students will go to the Peacock Parking Lot first. We will be basically calling people to go to their specific residence halls, you know, based on what the traffic looks like at each hall. So, rather than have everyone, kind of, all of a sudden en masse come just to that one little area of campus, we're actually going to be staging cars, starting them in Peacock Lot and then sending them over, basically going across Rivers Street, going up the road in front of Schaefer auditorium and then going down that new ... I think it's called Blue Ridge Way.
DaveBlanks: Is that right? I was going to ask you that. Yeah.
Matt Dull: Or that Blue Ridge Way, or Blue Ridge connector. We may need to look that up.
DaveBlanks: Where should we, where can you find more information if you were curious about the P3 project and all the changes?
Matt Dull: You know what? It might be our future website, appstate.edu/future.
DaveBlanks: Let's check it out.
Matt Dull: Yep. Here it is, right here on the future website, under that completed projects section. It's Blue Ridge Way.
DaveBlanks: Oh yes! A pedestrian pathway connector, Blue Ridge Way. Cool. All right, good. That'll be super helpful for funneling cars out of there.
Matt Dull: Yeah. It's going to help us do almost like this one-way kind of loop traffic pattern where folks will go up Blue Ridge Way. At the end of Blue Ridge Way, they'll actually be a parking and traffic officer or one of our housing folks there to help direct people to either Thunder Hill or Raven Rocks and where to park there or to the new Stadium Parking Deck that will help people in Frank, and Belk, and Eggers, and Bowie be able to move in. Then, folks will all filter back out through Jack Branch Road to get back onto Stadium. So, we're going to basically make that a one-way loop during that kind of one-week move-in period from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to be able to keep traffic moving and try to limit the amount of congestion in that zone of campus. Students that are living in Gardner or Coltrane, they will come up Stadium Drive and then go around Gardner Coltrane, and there will be places for students to unload around those two buildings. Gardner/Coltrane is slightly different from everything else on west campus. Students will go directly to Gardner/Coltrane.
DaveBlanks: They're not going to stage, like at Peacock.
Matt Dull: No, they will not stage. There are enough spaces around those two buildings for students to be able to stop, unload and keep things moving. Around other parts of campus, it just has a potential to get more congested if we don't stage people into it. So for all the other west campus residence halls kind of in that zone, they will stage at Peacock and then go up to the residence hall when it's time for them to move in and when there are spaces for their cars to go.
DaveBlanks: Perfect. Sounds like a plan.
Matt Dull: More information on move-in is on the Housing website, housing.appstate.edu. You'll see a link to the move-in day information, kind of in that first paragraph on the website. So, more information is available online. Students who are moving in will have email communication about the move-in process, how to check in, where to get their key. All that is on the website, but they'll also get a follow-up,email and information on their move-in time and date is available in their housing portal.
DaveBlanks: Perfection. You're so informative, Matt Dull. Thank you.
Matt Dull: And no problem.
DaveBlanks: It's like you for handled this before.
Matt Dull: Glad it's helpful.
DaveBlanks: I felt as though it was. I'm ready for move-in.
Matt Dull: Those are our most of the little move-in factoids. Not a lot of changes from previous years on the east side of campus, but all of that information is available on the Housing website.
DaveBlanks: Cool. Hey, do you want to talk about the cliffhanger we had last week for our listeners?
Matt Dull: Yeah, last week we talked about bricks. And we've had a number of folks inquire about how to get a hold of their brick. We are holding back some bricks. If folks are interested in getting one of those bricks, they can email us at email@example.com, and we can get their name and contact information so that we can make sure we're holding back a break for them. Please do that in the next week or two here at first couple of weeks of August, so that we can make sure we have enough bricks held back for you. We can give you more details on how to get those bricks if you will email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DaveBlanks: There you go. Thank you. That was, again, very informative and useful. I appreciate it, Matt.
Matt Dull: It's a useful podcast!
DaveBlanks: It is! Right? We definitely have a purpose. So, is there anything else you want to cover today on the campus Construction Update?
Matt Dull: Well, let's quickly just cover Laurel Creek Hall, which is Building 300 that we've talked about in the past. Construction began back in February and we've given little updates along the way, but one really exciting thing happening this week is framing will begin. So, we've got slabs poured at the building. Elevator and stair towers finishing up and we will start framing this week. So, it'll be exciting to have that started.
DaveBlanks: Is that all of phase two? Laurel Creek?
Matt Dull: Laurel Creek and then some campus utility things like our steam line that runs near Laurel Creek and up Stadium Heights Drive.
DaveBlanks: Right. OK.
Matt Dull: A water line and a replacement, a new water main in that section of campus and a few other utility kind of things, but the construction that most people will see and recognize as new on campus is really that Building 300 or Laurel Creek Hall.
DaveBlanks: Gotcha. Man, the first phase was huge compared to the other phases.
Matt Dull: No, it was. So, the first phase is 912 beds. So, a lot of beds in that first phase; second phase is 635.
DaveBlanks: Plus the parking deck.
Matt Dull: Plus the parking deck was a part of that phase one delivery.
DaveBlanks: Remember? We used to talk about the parking deck all the time.
Matt Dull: I know! We did, and we have moved on.
DaveBlanks: Donezo! Cool. Well, looking forward to seeing Laurel Creek take shape, because yeah, when they get that frame up, you're like, "Oh, OK. Yeah, this is how this is going to look."
Matt Dull: Yeah. It's exciting even just to see the foundation and slab kind of wrapping up. You really get a good sense now of just the size of the building. Also, it really helps you see just how big that green space area is going to be between Laurel Creek and Raven Rocks Hall. Right now, it's kind of full with construction equipment and, you know, all the construction materials are being stored there, but once that starts getting framed up, you can really just see how large and how nice that green space is going to look once it gets in.
DaveBlanks: I think everybody's excited to see that.
Matt Dull: Yeah. So, exciting stuff. Hopefully some pictures on the campus future website here in the next week or two as that really takes shape.
DaveBlanks: Perfect. Matt, thanks for your time today. I appreciate you.
Matt Dull: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for the time and great giving some updates, and we'll do it again soon.
DaveBlanks: Thanks so much, Matt.
Matt Dull: No problem.