STORY BY ZACHARY BLEVINS
With the expansion of programs and the steady increase of enrollment at Drake University, the makeup of campus is continuously changing to match the needs of the University. While Old Main is the staple building one campus, and the first one built, many buildings on campus have transformed in intriguing ways.
Morehouse Residence Hall houses first-year and upperclassmen students. While it currently is home to many students, it use to be the home of the International Center, the Language Center, and the office of the “I Have A Dream” campaign. These were held in the basement of Morehouse, but were moved out when Morehouse was renovated to create extra living spaces.
Part of that renovation included the removal of the dining facilities housed where the laundry machines are currently. The Morehouse Ballroom use to be a cafeteria.
As the staple on campus, Old Main has gone under some transformations as well.
“You originally could not get into Sheslow Auditorium — which was then called Old Main Auditorium — without going outside,” Director of Operations Mark Chambers said. “There was not an interior pathway. If you go in and look on the brick, you can still see on the brick the roofline, where the roofline was caulked in. You can see the black tar caulk on the brick. And that’s why there are stained glass windows on the inside.”
Sheslow Auditorium also use to have large columns that came down from the ceiling to support the building. These columns would block the view of the stage for many seats. They were replaced when a support beam was installed.
While campus has changed dramatically, there are even more changes scheduled to take place. The board of trustees approved the building of the STEM@DRAKE complex to hold classes for science, technology, education, and mathematics majors. With this, the University is in the process of purchasing 27th street.
“As part of this project, we’ve got about 122 new parking spaces in a parking lot where the houses use to be on the east side of 27th street,” Chambers said. “So, you’re going to net 60-some spaces depending on how it lays out over what there is now.”
Once the University is the owner of the street, it will have to close it for liability purposes and it will be used for storage for building materials.
“What we would like to do is to not renovate that street until the School of Education, Olin Hall, and the new connector building are built,” Chambers said.
While the University endorses the project, some students are skeptical.
“It’s very problematic to a lot of students and will cause a lot of issues for students, especially commuter students, during the winter,” said first-year Hannah Collins, a current resident of Herriott
Residence Hall and future resident of Goodwin-Kirk Residence Hall.
Sophomore Maya Bolter expressed concerns over the loss of non-permit area parking spaces.
“Street parking is really good because you don’t have to buy a permit,” Bolter said. “We’re broke college students, and permits can get expensive. There are oversold spots, and there are too many people trying to park in the spots anyways.”
Nevertheless, the continued remodeling of campus is a clear sign that the University is prospering.