Ozarks busy with construction projects

Release Date: 7/17/2000

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. ---Students at University of the Ozarks will notice numerous improvements and additions to their campus when they return for the 2000 Fall Semester in August.

Several construction projects are underway on the campus, highlighted by the $1.3 million renovation of Smith Residence Hall and the addition of a second apartment-style complex on College Avenue, the Bagwell-Jones Residence Hall. The construction projects are being funded by the university's five-year, $55 million PRIDE & PROMISE campaign, which recently passed the $47 million mark 20 months into the campaign.
    
Smith Hall is undergoing its first major renovation since it was built in 1958. The facility will take on a new look both inside and out. Two and three-room suites will replace dorm-style rooms on the first floor and a third-floor sun deck will be enclosed with four new rooms added in its place. All interior finishes will also be upgraded, including new windows and new furniture for each room.
   
The outside of Smith Hall will be painted to match the campus' architectural design of red brick and cream-color banding. In addition, King Hall, which was renovated last year, will also receive a new paint job.
   
"The major summer noises on campus are the sounds of construction," said Ozarks President Dr. Rick Niece. "Our goal is for King and Smith halls to blend in with the rest of the campus."
   
Bagwell-Jones Hall will join Cary-Wortz Hall, completed last January, as Ozarks' two newest campus additions. Each complex can accommodate 20 students in an apartment-style setting, including fully furnished kitchens, private bathrooms and study areas. The Bagwell-Jones construction project will also include landscaping, sidewalk and lighting improvements for both complexes. Construction of a third apartment-style complex is scheduled to begin in October. It will be located just north of Bagwell-Jones, on Buchanan Street.    Once the renovations and addition are completed by next summer, Ozarks will be able to house about 400 students on campus.
   
"Our plan is to have a variety of housing options available to our students," said Business Manager Darrell Williams. "In King we have standard dorm-style rooms for freshmen, and Smith is the transition hall with both dorm rooms and suites. In MacLean, we have three-room suites and in the new halls it's more apartment-style living. Our students will see an upgrade in housing as they go through their college years."
   
Several improvements were made to the Walton Fine Arts Center, including new carpeting and paint jobs.
   
"We also added a new lighting system in the theatre," Dr. Niece said. "With the state-of-the-art sound system that was installed last year, our theatre is, once again, among the best in the region."
   
A major landscaping project on the south end of campus is expected to be begin this fall. The project will include a new plaza --- featuring an outdoor stage and benches --- between Smith and King halls and a new campus entryway on the corner of College and University avenues. The new entryway is a part of a campus-wide signage project to help visitors find their way around the university.
   
"We're improving the signs all around campus and on buildings for better identification," Williams said.
   
U of O's athletic fields have also seen improvements this summer. The softball field is undergoing an overhaul that includes new sod, dugouts and outfield fence as the college gets ready to compete in women's fastpitch softball for the first time during the Spring 2001 semester. The bleachers at Hurie Soccer Field have also been renovated and irrigation has been improved on all of the athletic fields, according to Williams.