As the new academic year begins, the newest president, Beth Paul, is being introduced to Capital University and has begun considering making changes to the campus.
During her first few months as president, Paul toured the campus, including all of the academic buildings and the residential halls. During her tour, she made note of changes that she’d like to see in the buildings and plans for the future.
Some of the biggest changes she’d like to make are in the residence halls. Although many notes she made were of routine maintenance issues, such as painting walls, replacing carpet, and getting new furniture, Paul has taken a huge step towards improving the residence halls by closing the southwestern, first floor hall in Lohman Hall.
Prior to move-in for students, Paul made the executive decision to close the hall to make repairs to the ceiling, which has been destroyed by past students.
“I just didn’t feel that it was an appropriate space to move our students into,” Paul said. “I worry about it falling.”
The students have been temporarily placed in apartments at the Trinity Lutheran Seminary. The Facilities Management team is still working to complete the estimated costs and timelines for the upcoming work, so it is unknown when the students will return to the hall.
In the future, Paul plans to annually tour the residential halls prior to students beginning the fall term in order to make sure they are ready.
“[The tour is a] really important reminder for all of us that residential education is a really important part of what Capital does and that our residence halls really are living and learning spaces,” Paul said. “It was really great for me to see the different living [and] learning options for students.”
In addition to the changes she would like to see in the residence halls, Paul also stressed the need for a new science center. Whether that just be renovations to Battelle Hall or building an entirely new building is unknown, as no plans have been finalized.
There have also been no finalized plans for Renner Hall, which has rumored future plans to be torn down and turned into green space on campus.
Paul said that it is good to always have a major project going on, and there will be a master planning process sometime before more major renovations will take place on campus.
Because of the lack of space on Capital’s campus, planning will have to be done very carefully in order to accommodate any upcoming changes. However, there are “lots of possibilities,” as Paul said.
The two main priorities Paul has now are building a better program for addressing the regular maintenance of the residence halls and getting the Convergent Media Center (CMC) open and running.
“The CMC opens up new possibilities, both at the undergraduate and graduate level,” Paul said.
She also wants to focus on beautifying campus to “[make] sure it looks like the home you want to live in.”
In addition to all of the physical changes she would like to make on campus, Paul may make some academic changes as well.
“We’re always trying to make sure that our academic programs are as strong as they can be,” she said.
These beginning changes include the signing of a contract with Bridge, an international corporation that will help Capital to continue to diversify it’s student body and bring more international students to campus.
“We signed a new agreement with a company that has people all over the world who help colleges and universities attract international students, and that will be a brand new thing that will be starting this fall. Our hope is that, at least to begin with, we will be bringing at least 20 additional international students per year to campus.”
Paul had an opening meeting with staff and faculty, and plans to do so with students at some time. There are also plans to have smaller group conversations throughout the fall to consider the purpose of Capital and the role the university plays in the world.
“I’m really enjoying seeing through people’s eyes what is special about Capital,” Paul said, “and there is a lot that’s special about [this school].”