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BJU to renovate residence halls, grounds over break

Workers replaced the old gravel path leading from the back of FMA to the Gustafson Fine Arts Center with a concrete sidewalk in time for commencement.
Photo: Alicia Cannon

When the students’ semester comes to an end in May, construction at BJU will hit the ground running.

Several renovations are planned for student living spaces and community areas, with the hope that these changes will better bring students together and foster community.

“The changes will be centered [on] the freshmen dorms,” said Aaron Burke, the assistant men’s director of Student Life.

Workers will renovate the large common spaces on the basement levels of Johnson and Gaston and add group and individual study spaces on each floor of the freshmen residence halls.

In addition to these new communal areas, the hallways will have new lighting installed, and workers will put in glass doors at the main entrances to the dorms for a more welcoming feel.

The renovations will include new furniture to decorate the spaces. The restrooms in Gaston will also be refinished in 2023, although this update may have to be delayed.

According to Burke, the additions are meant to be “collision spaces,” where students can build relationships with each other and live together.

Burke noted that the University has been working on these renovation plans for a while. “We started meeting together on it in the spring of ’21,” Burke said.

The team hopes to complete the renovations over the course of 89 days in time for the arrival of the class of 2026.

Laurilyn Hall, the head of the department of design, and David Lovegrove, BJU’s chief marketing officer, have contributed to the design aspects of the project.

Lovegrove said this year’s renovations are part of the University’s larger strategic plan to improve all aspects of campus life.

“We see students as learning not just in the classrooms, but in the residence halls,” he said.

Tom Berg, the director of Facilities, said that BJU has also begun renovating the campus grounds in addition to the indoor projects planned for this summer.

Over Christmas break, Facilities removed several aging trees near the Sargent Art building to prevent falling branches from causing injury or damage.

After spring break, workers began the process of installing new turf to beautify that area of campus.

Workers added an improved irrigation system to prepare for the new turf, which is a combination of fescue, a type of grass that grows thickly, and bluegrass, a perennial grass common in many lawns.

“I jokingly told Dr. Pettit that this is true BJU Bluegrass,” Berg said, referring to Pettit’s music ensemble BJUgrass.

Berg said he expects the turf installation to be completed by the middle of June.

Later, Facilities will put in an Emperor I Japanese maple tree donated by Greenville’s Premier Tree Care in honor of Sam Brenneman, the director of Facilities who passed away last year.

Lovegrove said the University plans to update more campus spaces through the Living and Learning capital campaign.

Donors can support the campaign by visiting give. bju.edu/livinglearning.