The beginning of spring semester at Roanoke College is marked with the closing of the concrete stairs leading from Colket Center to two North Side dorms-New Hall and CAR. An email was sent to students on January 13, outlining the closing.
According to the email, the stairs are suspected to be closed off until the summer session when construction of the Cregger Center is meant to be completed. According to a recent interview with Mark Noftsinger, Vice President of Business Affairs and Treasurer at RC, the area of the stairs and sidewalk in front of New Hall will be opened “as soon as practical” said Noftsinger. Currently there is still an abundance of work to be put into the landscaping at the bottom level access of the Cregger center. No further information is known as to when these areas will be opening up again, but it is not expected to occur until summer.
Noftsinger reports that constructing Cregger has been a two-year schedule, but Roanoke is closing in on six months left for completion. The school has pushed back closing the stairs and walkway in front of New Hall for as long as possible, but in order to complete the project safely and on time, the stairs needed to be closed this semester.
While the closing of the stairs may inconvenience students, the construction should lead to a great addition to campus. There have been many rumors and speculations about why the stairs to Colket are being closed off. According to Noftsinger, this area is actually part of the construction for the new quad to come with Cregger.
“The stairs behind Colket have been fenced off due to the bottom portion of the stairs being demo’d as part of the new quad layout”, said Noftsinger, “The stairs behind Colket is designed to tie into the new seating area of the quad which will be elevated so there will not be the same number of stairs after construction.”
The stairs and area surrounding the bottom portion have thus been fenced off for demolition and paving for the new design. It is necessary for this area to be closed now so the construction can be finished timely. Currently, although subject to change, the plan is to have a smaller amount of stairs coming from Colket leading into a bridge that runs from a newly extended patio at Cavern over to an entrance to the sports quad. Recent plans appear to have added stadium-like seating down a small slope from cavern and more into the area closer to the Cregger Center.
In order to help with some of the inconvenience caused by the construction, Roanoke does plan to have Bast Center open more hours into the night so students are able to pass through the building. As of now, the Cregger Center is scheduled to be opened in the upcoming fall semester and all access will be returned to normal. Until then, stay safe and warm when traveling across this area of campus.