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Completed Construction Adds to Student-Focused Theme

As summer ends, several construction projects resolve across the Brigham Young University-Idaho campus. The Hart Gym has received major upgrades and the new Advising Center in the Manwaring Center has reached completion, both projects topping a bustling few months of renovation. The progress continues with new projects, including the reanimation of ones once delayed due to supply chain issues. 

Hart Gym 

After more than a year of construction, most of the Hart Main Gym’s updates have reached their final stage. The new features improved the functionality of the Hart Gym, the most noticeable being the ability to lower curtains in the gym and provide a more intimate feeling for smaller events. 

During construction, it became apparent the newly curtained-off areas dimmed the lighting substantially. Lighting under the handrails was added to improve vision on the steps of these seating areas. Additionally, improved access to the gym floor has been accomplished with remodeled entrances on the south side on both sides of the stage. 

The Hart Gym north lobby entrance remains under construction this summer. While the trophy display section is still undergoing renovation, the ticket office renovation is finished. Once completed, trophies and awards honoring Ricks College’s past sporting achievements will be available to view in the north lobby and Legacy Hall in the Manwaring Center.  

Although completion of the gym’s locker rooms was slated for the beginning of the 2022 Spring semester, supply chain issues delayed progress on the women's side. The women’s locker room will be completed by the start of fall semester. The men's locker rooms were successfully completed in April of this year. 

Final renovations to the Hart Gym are currently taking place on the first floor. These updates include enhancing the floor space beneath the north lobby for improved access to the Fitness Center. This will grant additional activity area in the Wellness Center, new restrooms, a new laundry room, and equipment storage. Ceiling and lighting replacement, as well as exterior pre-cast work, will also take place through the end of the year. 

Manwaring Center 

Updates to the Manwaring Center may seem like an eternal cycle of construction, but the most recent additions are revolutionizing the currently available space into a truly student-centered design. The most apparent of these is the new Advising Center, which was completed during this past spring semester. 

Neihlee Muir, a construction project manager overseeing these renovations, said this nexus of student-focused resources will make it easier for students to access tools necessary for accomplishing academic goals.  

“Our hope with this project is to continue to provide a central location for all student services,” Muir said. “The Manwaring Center is a great location for this to happen.” 

Sam Brubaker, Student Success Managing Director, added that with the addition of side-by-side desks, visible full-time offices, and a reception desk, the new Advising Center represents a physical manifestation of the advising strategy employed on campus.  

“The overall design of the space aligns with the appreciative advising philosophy to create a space that puts students at ease as we help them find a purpose, have a person, and make a plan to fulfill their potential,” Brubaker said.  

Still under construction in the MC is the new Welcome Center at the south entrance lobby. This area will serve as the new gathering place for visitors and starting place for guided campus tours. Noticeably, this construction zone has utilized drywall instead of plywood to bar the safety area. Normally, this would be more expensive, but a shortage of plywood has led to contactors using alternative means of protection.  

Additional construction projects in the MC began as soon as the Spring Semester ended. This construction will primarily focus on remodeling the Print and Copy Office to make room for the Disability Services Office, which will be relocated from the McKay Library.  

The renovators also plan on extending the Crossroads stage to fit larger performances. It is intended that more students, especially groups, will be able to utilize the stage with the larger platform.  

Benson Building 

The remodeling of some spaces inside the Ezra Taft Benson Building has also begun this summer. Room 190 in the Benson was transformed into a pottery lab during the construction of the Visual Arts Studio in 2021. The room will now be turned into an office, drawing room, and IBC space. Groups like the University Flower Shop have already closed for remodeling and will reopen during the Winter 2023 Semester.  

On the other side of the building, the computer lab in Room 229 will be remodeled into a teaching space. This new space will include a new laboratory and fixed workstations.  

Additional Construction 

Two substantial HVAC upgrades are also underway in the Taylor and Hinckley Buildings during the Summer 2022 Session. According to Muir, the planned HVAC projects will help reduce energy-related costs and provide a suitable learning environment for students. 

“The projects will be updating the current systems, which will help with energy efficiency and reliability in the buildings,” Muir said. 

Muir added that there are other projects yet to be completed, and a few more that have not yet begun, including remodeling the IT workrooms in the Kimball Building.  

“We will be remodeling the IT Suites in Kimball 170, 244, and 250,” she said, “to provide adequate space for IT employees.” 

Additional summer projects include a roof replacement on the Spori Building, replacing worn concrete, and other ongoing campus maintenance needs.