By Sharon Verbeten
Centralized services at the heart of campus will improve the student experience
In its third incarnation since the 1960s, the building that most recently housed the Todd Wehr Library will soon take on an entirely different function – one St. Norbert students are sure to find helpful.
The 63,000-square-foot, two-and-a-half-story building was vacated earlier this year when the library was replaced by the new Miriam B. and James J. Mulva Library. And, starting in spring 2010, the building – now known as Todd Wehr Hall – will be home to an array of student services and offices.
“We’re trying to use the building to better serve students,” says Cindi Barnett (Student Affairs).
“It’s a way of consolidating offices so students can get a lot of information in one place,” adds bursar Cheryl Knuth (Finance).
Students with multiple questions, for example, about housing, financial aid and advising will now be able to find resources in one building instead of venturing to offices across campus.
An advisory board of campus representatives, including Barnett and Knuth, was formed earlier this year to discuss the opportunities for serving students in the Todd Wehr facility, creating a centralized location to get answers to many of their campus-related questions.
Many department offices that will relocate are currently in the John Minahan Science Hall, the largest building on campus.That building will eventually be renovated into a building exclusively dedicated to the sciences. “It’s part of the whole campus master plan,” says registrar Rick Guild.
The advisory group is also discussing having a manned central desk greet students upon entry. “This facility is going to be a traffic center, as well as a place where students can get answers and referral,” says Jeff Zahn (Financial Aid).
The new Todd Wehr Hall will include:
The campus bookstore (moving from its current location on Grant Street)
Academic Support Services
Campus Ministry Parish
Office Program of Faith, Learning and Vocation
Office of Norbertine Vocation
Residential Education and Housing
Small meeting rooms
The Discoveries International store
Renovation under way
Todd Wehr Hall is undergoing what John Barnes (Facilities) calls an “adaptive renovation.”
“We’re not adding to the building,” he says. “We’re creatively reusing the space. The challenging part is to get the best space utilization.”
Remodeling, moving around a few walls and redecorating are only part of the rebirth of the venue. New heating/ventilation and air conditioning will be installed, modernizing the outdated 40-year-old system.
Todd Wehr, Zahn says, “is a venerable building that has had many changes. It has a history of changing with the times.”
It opened in the late 1960s as a women’s dormitory; about 10 years later, it was converted to a library, in a renovation that scored several campus design awards, according to the advisory group.
This second renovation, which Barnes estimates will cost $3 million, is expected to be completed by the beginning of the spring semester. And while the advisory group hesitates to call it a “one-stop shop,” Todd Wehr Hall will definitely provide students with the information, answers and referrals they need in a more convenient centralized site.