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Lentz Hall renovations set to begin

November 19, 2019

The new year will bring a new look to Lentz Hall.

Renovations are scheduled to begin in early January, resulting in a brand new Aspire Center and an updated look for the fourth floor. 

Made possible by a generous donation, The Aspire Program™ officially launched this fall. The new Aspire Center will provide space for industry-related activities including mock interview and skill assessment, offices for The Aspire Career staff, and a welcoming place for students to gather and explore.

“As a featured program at Carthage, The Aspire Center needs to be highly visible and accessible to current and prospective students and their families,” says Dale McClain, vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer.

Rendering of the Lentz Hall renovations.Rendering of the Lentz Hall renovations.

The majority of the changes will be focused on The Aspire Center and the areas surrounding the spiral staircase, says architect Mark Molinaro, Jr., from Partners in Design. Improvements include:

  • Expansion of the existing Aspire Center, including new offices for career specialists and a new, welcoming entrance
  • Creation of an all-glass boardroom along the east wall, where the Office of Continuing Studies was located
  • A new entrance for the Office of Admissions
  • Decorative Lannon stone to update the space and visually connect it to other campus facilities, such as the Clausen Center
  • New lighting to brighten the space and new signage on the main and upper floors to better direct Lentz Hall guests
  • A new HVAC system for the fourth floor

“These changes are intended to create a visible connection between the Office of Admissions and The Aspire Center, as well as provide a welcoming atmosphere for visitors,” Dale says. “We want to create a ‘Wow!’ factor, which will include creating a full view of the lake that will be visible as you reach the top of the spiral staircase.” 

Renovations to The Aspire Center and Admissions.Renovations to The Aspire Center and Admissions.

Phase 1 of the project will bring much-needed upgrades to the entire fourth-floor HVAC system. Ted Fares, associate vice president for campus operations, says that these upgrades are being done strategically, so they won’t need to be addressed again if further changes are made to Lentz Hall. 

“We are currently working with old equipment from the 1950s and ’60s,” Ted says. “A new system will operate much more efficiently, and because we will already have the walls opened for the renovation, it’s the right time to do it.”

In order to minimize disruption, work on the HVAC system will be done in sections. Lentz 425 will be converted to a temporary workspace for staff whose offices are temporarily unavailable. Ted expects the relocations to last one to two weeks. 

The women’s restroom on the Lentz fourth floor will become four offices, and the current men’s restroom will be divided into new bathrooms for men and women. Both bathrooms will be closed for four to six weeks during construction. Signage will direct people to third-floor restrooms. 

Once the bathrooms and HVAC upgrades are complete, Phase 2 will begin. Phase 2 includes construction of The Aspire Center.

Although the project will be disruptive at times for Lentz Hall staff, Mr. Molinaro says that the end result will be a much more efficient and aesthetically pleasing space. 

“It will be difficult, it will be dusty, and it will be noisy,” he says, “but in the end, it will function the way it’s supposed to.”

Approximately 30 percent of the work will be done in the evenings and on weekends to minimize disruptions to daily operations.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of July.