Construction continues as Lafayette looks forward with new campus master plan

The+fifth+floor+of+Acopian+Engineering+Center+is+set+to+be+complete+in+late+October.

Photo by Emma Sylvester

The fifth floor of Acopian Engineering Center is set to be complete in late October.

While the 2022-23 school year has only just begun, Lafayette College has decided to look towards the future with a new master plan for its campus. This agenda complements projects which were already under construction, including the brand-new Portlock Black Cultural Center and an addition to the fifth floor of the Acopian Engineering Center

In an email released on Aug. 30, President Nicole Hurd detailed the “campus master plan” for Lafayette College. In it, President Hurd wrote that the college would be working alongside SmithGroup – an international architectural, planning and engineering firm – to assess Lafayette’s physical needs and goals and create a development plan for campus growth over at least the next 10 years.

“We will undertake the bulk of this planning work during the 2022-23 academic year, with a focus on obtaining extensive input from students, faculty, staff, and affected constituents across our local community,” Hurd wrote. “This significant and necessary undertaking will address academic, athletic, residential, and administrative functions as well as areas of campus life such as facilities, dining, transportation, parking, pedestrian movement, infrastructure and utilities, sustainability, and the road to carbon neutrality.”

Meanwhile, many campus construction projects are either nearing completion or will begin soon.

Associate Vice President for Finance & Business Craig Becker wrote in an email that design plans for the McCartney Street Phase II project, which will be located across the street from McKeen Hall, are currently being created.

“Design of the second phase of the McCartney Residential Building is underway with design documents ready for construction contractor bidding at the end of 2022,” Becker wrote. “Work is anticipated to commence construction on the site in February 2023 and the building is still planned to be opened in August 2024.”

At the current location of the future dorm is a temporarily parking lot that was created last school year. Hurd said that, due to the construction as well as the opening of the renovated Markle Parking Deck, the temporary lot currently occupying the space will be shut down within the month. She added that the college is considering different options for retail that could be placed in the ground floor of the McCartney Street Phase II project once complete.

Beyond the updates on new housing, Becker also wrote that demolition inside of Kunkel Hall has begun. This is the first step in transforming Kunkel Hall into the new Simon Center for Economics and Business. 

“The construction team is preparing for full mobilization in the next couple of weeks to continue the interior demolition work,” Becker wrote. “The building is scheduled to open for the Fall 2024 semester.”

Becker wrote that several projects had been completed on the campus since last semester. The Portlock Black Cultural Center now houses multiple students and Markle Parking Deck has been open for use for over two weeks with small additions to be added in the future.

Another notable construction development is that of the Acopian Engineering Center, which is nearing the completion of a fifth floor after being under development throughout the last semester. Becker wrote that the ongoing work on the new floor, which is not yet open for use, comes down to working through a checklist of items.

“The entrance work is scheduled to be completed [in] late October with the installation of a new permanent accessible ramp,” Becker wrote. “The installation is waiting on precast concrete materials that are scheduled for delivery in early October. Classes were not scheduled in the space for this semester because not all the AV equipment … has come in. When the AV comes in, the classrooms will go live.” 

These projects and more can be read about in more detail on Lafayette College’s Facilities Planning website.