If you are a returning student, you have probably noticed that the Rollins campus looks a little different this year. Specifically, you have seen that Mills Lawn has been re-turfed and temporarily blocked off from student access and that the flagpole has been moved to the front of the lawn in a new, bricked area with benches.
However, what you may not know is the full extent of the renovations that took place across the Rollins campus this summer or the reasons behind them. Several residential buildings on campus, including Corrin Hall, Holt Hall and Sutton Place were given renovations along with The Beal Maltbie Center (which houses the environmental studies department), rooms in the Knowles Memorial Chapel, and the area around what was formerly called Mills Lawn (now renamed The Green).
Perhaps the most important of the renovations are those which cannot be seen. According to Director of Facilities Scott Bitikofer, “We have a few global objectives in mind when making renovations, the first of which is sustainability.” In order to make the renovated buildings more environmentally friendly, facilities has replaced the windows in Holt with new high-performance glazing windows, which “keep the sun out and the A/C in,” replaced the insulation in the buildings receiving interior renovations, and installed occupancy sensors for the lights and air conditioning.
The Beal Maltbie Center was also the first Rollins building to be brought into compliance with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a green-building certification system, although according to Bitikofer, all renovations of the last 10 years could have had the certification if they had pursued it. “We checked and we’ve actually been doing things beyond what LEED requires,” he said.
The second objective of the renovations is accessibility for those with disabilities. Said Bitikofer, “We’ve brought complete accessibility” to both Corrin and Holt halls, and the chapel classrooms are now ADA compliant. Finally, life safety has been paid special attention, with updates given to the fire alarm and sprinkler systems.
Corrin Hall, home to the Chi Omega sorority, and the classrooms at the rear of the chapel both received what is known as a “complete interior renovation,” which, according to Bitikofer, means that facilities “took the halls right down to the structure and repaired all the systems — the electricity, the plumbing, the air conditioning, and the fire alarm system. “We made sure everything was up to code.” Bitikofer shared that this was the first renovation that either building had received since their construction.
Meanwhile, Holt Hall received an exterior renovation. The building was stuccoed, painted, and made ADA accessible and a new, pitched roof replaced the flat one.
Of course, the two most visible renovations to the campus are those to Sutton Place and the former Mills Lawn. Said Bitikofer of Sutton, “The cost of repairing the pool was approaching the cost of replacing it. The new lakefront area will look very different, with a plan developed in concert with a group of Sutton students.” This will include a new pool, a sundeck, a new dock over the lake and an area for barbecuing and socializing. “When it’s done, I think people are going to love it,” he said.
Michael Barrett ’13, a Sutton resident, thinks the biggest problem about Sutton is the lack of camaraderie among its residents. “Perhaps renovating the pool area would make the Sutton residence a better place to get together. It can be difficult to get to know the other people who live here just because you never really see them,” he said.
Finally, the former Mills Lawn and its surrounding area are undergoing major renovations. The Green has been regarded and replanted with Bermuda grass, which Bitikofer states is softer and more pliable than St. Augustine grass. Renovations to The Green have been made to encourage social interaction in and around the area. “We want to create a green space for people,” Bitikofer said.
The new location of the flagpole, named Tars Plaza, will be dedicated to Rollins’ mascot. Future plans include a nautically themed compass rose set into the brick and a sculpture of a Tar on the plaza.
These renovations are not the only ones in the works. “Tars Plaza is the start of something much bigger,” Bitikofer said. “We want to redevelop the area — create a space with a more pedestrian character.”