President Baenninger leads campus upgrade efforts.

August 2015 – This fall, students will conduct experiments in a renovated biology lab in the Hall of Sciences and get tutoring and technology help in the new Academic Commons on the main floor of the library. What’s more, upgrades are in the works for Wesley House, Tilghman House and the dining Commons.

(See slide show of completed and new projects below.)

The flurry of recent construction projects illustrates President MaryAnn Baenninger’s desire to improve the campus in appearance and structure, investing needed funds to create a safer and more functional environment.

That includes turning Tilghman into the main academic and administrative space for Into New York at Drew. The refurbished building will contain four classrooms and offices for administrators, faculty and student support services, according to Michael Kopas, assistant vice president of administration/university relations. The project is expected to be completed in the spring.

Drew also is renovating the entire first floor of Wesley House, the home of Admissions. Plans call for upgrading the furniture and bathrooms, making it a comfortable, welcoming environment for visitors.

“The Admissions staff speaks frequently of the quality of our academic programs on- and off-campus, the intensity of our faculty’s commitment to our students and the benefits of our location,” said Robert Massa, senior vice president of enrollment and institutional planning. “Our ‘front porch’ must reflect that same high quality.”

Massa added that Wesley “serves as our welcome center, a place where first impressions are formed.”

Some of the improvements had long been part of the university’s master plan, but are finally getting tackled thanks to President Baenninger, said Kopas, who oversees facilities. More improvements are planned in the future, including enhancements to the Ehinger Center parking lot.

Though some upgrades are readily visible—including the new labs and the landscaping that surrounds the Hall of Sciences—others are not. For instance, the underground steam distribution system that controls heat to 13 campus buildings has been upgraded, saving energy and ultimately, money spent to heat the university, Kopas said.

“While we work to improve the way the campus presents itself, the infrastructure is also being upgraded, he added. “Whether visitors are potential students or people coming to the Shakespeare Theatre or our tennis courts, they’re going to see a new and improved campus.”