IGC construction on schedule

By Amy Ledig

Construction of the new building to house the Institute for Global Citizenship is on schedule and nearing completion, but that does not mean students should be expecting to set foot inside the completed project any time soon. David Wheaton, vice president for Administration and Finance, said that construction is expected to be complete sometime between the end of the month and the beginning of March.

“The outside is now starting to look like it will,” Wheaton said, adding that the bulk of the remaining work is getting the inside of the building ready to go.

The next step will be to move in some furniture and then put the building through an airing-out process to remove as many of the toxins in the building as possible. This will last though mid-March, Wheaton said.

There will not be much activity with the building, though, until the end of the semester. Plans are in the works for a dedication ceremony in mid-May, the weekend of graduation and the Board of Trustees meeting.

Karin Trail-Johnson, the director of the Civic Engagement Center and an associate dean for the IGC, said that there will also be days in the fall for campus partner organizations and neighbors to come in and see the building.

No major moves will be made, though, until after the end of the school year, as there is going to be a significant amount of shuffling around of departments and offices, which would essentially force work to come to halt.

“It just didn’t make sense to have them, in the middle of the semester, stop and pack boxes,” Wheaton said.

Because the building was intended for a very specific space at the corner of Grand and Snelling, it was not eligible for some possible sustainability points, such as building on previously contaminated land, Wheaton said. However, the planners made up for the points they could not get by including features to win some back.

The building will include a shower and a changing area on the second floor to encourage staff and faculty to bike to work instead of using transportation requiring fossil fuels. Wheaton mentioned that the Patagonia store on Grand Avenue has a shower for the same reason.

The interior of the building is also being put together with sustainability in mind. Trail-Johnson mentioned cabinets made from sunflower seeds, countertops and window ledges made from recycled cardboard and generally warm, inviting design aspects as unique elements of the project.

Trail-Johnson stressed the building’s inclusion of open spaces that will be available to students. In addition to meeting rooms, the common space in the middle of the building will feature comfortable furniture and function as a place for homework and conversation, she said. Trail-Johnson described it as a place that could easily be set up for speakers and luncheons, with the added bonus of already having media capabilities.

“I think it’ll be a good space,” she said. “I think people will be pleased.