Vaughn-Eames will grow on you

By Roman Gerus

Construction is underway in and around the Vaughn Eames parking lot as Vaughn Eames Hall undergoes significant renovations and expansion.

The Performing Arts Instructional Facility Expansion and Renovation  Project, under the direction of the Office of Facilities and Campus Planning, is an ambitious new project designed to renovate and expand the current Vaughn Eames Hall. There will be an exterior renovation on the building including a new performance studio on the first floor. Also, an additional 14,500 sq. ft. performing arts building will be constructed in the space between the parking lot and Morris Avenue.

This project is part of an initiative to breathe new life into a “cramped, aging” visual arts facility and transform it into a “new, more vibrant” one. The new buildings and facilities will also address the growing need for space for an expanding performing arts program. This project, when completed, would expand the Theatre Program’s overall capacity by as much as 24 percent.

“They need to re-open the entrance by North Ave,” said Lindsey Bodnar, a commuter student who has been affected by the closure.

The project’s budget is $5.7 million with a current construction contract of $5.5 million. The project is estimated to last about 12 months. This includes the current parking and traffic trends. To ensure a safe working environment, 60 handicapped and faculty/staff spaces have been removed for the duration of the project. Traffic has also been rerouted. This has increased the amount of traffic and headaches, especially with the closing of the North Avenue entrance.

Steven Minkoff is a commuter student that uses this entrance.

“It has been a bit of an annoyance,” said Minkoff. “They closed the back entrance that I used every day for emergency construction and yet have not broke ground on anything relating to the entrance. I can’t wait for them to open it back up.” 

With this entrance closed, traffic for the main campus is forced to funnel into the entrance at Morris Avenue. This in turn, is causing more traffic which Kean is already infamous for among its students and staff.

Phyllis Duke is the Assistant Vice President of Operations and has firsthand knowledge of the parking lot situation.

“The area will be in its current configuration until the project is complete,” said Duke.

The project has also dug itself into other problems with frequent severe winter storms that have slowed progress and saturated the soil. There are also a number of underground utilities that must be relocated, namely a gas line and IT services.

However, the project is still moving forward; slowly, but surely. When it is complete, it will add needed space to a growing student community. As for more parking, that is another story.

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