Although the campus’ beauty has continued to be altered by construction, the results of the accomplished projects have added more appeal to the atmosphere. The Tully Dining Room opened to the Fairfield community on Sept. 4, but is still missing some furniture on the third floor that is coming. Junior Robert Munoz said, “I was up there once; it’s pretty nice.” However, Munoz went on to explain that the food is still not up to par and suggested that Fairfield improve the food quality.
According to Associate Vice President of Facilities Management David Frassinelli, it was difficult to finish the campus center construction on time. Final approvals from the fire marshall and town inspectors were not given until Sept. 2, only two days before the first-year students moved in, which was when the dining hall was supposed to open.
“Then of course Sodexo had to staff it up, get food and get the place pulled together,” Frassinelli said. “It was a monumental effort on their part.”
The Oak Room and newly made room next to it, the Dogwood Room, should be open in two weeks, Frassinelli said. On Saturday, Sept. 16, a special reception will acknowledge the Tully family in these rooms to thank them for their gift. Since the new dining hall is open, the makeshift dining hall, referred to as the tent on the Barone Campus Center green, will begin to disappear within the next week or two and restored to its original lawn, said Frassinelli.
Along with the Tully, the new nursing school opened to students and faculty. Dean of the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies Dr. Meredith Kazer, PhD commented that the new facility surpassed her expectations.
“We were able to build a building that foresees what nursing education is going to look like, not just now, but what it’s going to look like for years and years to come,” she said.
Kazer explained how a new nursing school was necessary since it grew from around 200 to 700 students.
Not only was size an issue, but technology needed to be more advanced. The new simulation labs allow nursing students to experience simulations, providing them with more varying situations than they may have seen in their clinicals. “We were subject to whatever was available in that clinical environment to provide that education,” said Kazer. However, Kazer does not plan to cut out clinical experiences completely, only to substitute some clinicals with simulations labs. Senior nursing major Brooke Upton commented that the building is a dream come true. “It has a very realistic hospital feel and provides the perfect learning environment for nursing,” said Upton.
In addition to the new school of nursing, construction is also advancing on the new residence hall located between Gonzaga and Regis halls, which will be completed in Summer 2018. Sophomore students will welcome it as their new home. According to Frassinelli, there will be about 200 beds in the new dorm. The biggest difference this dorm will have is air conditioning. “Ultimately, our plans are to provide air conditioning to all of the Quad dorms,” said Frassinelli. While this project is on track, the parking garage may be ahead of its completion date. Although it was announced to be completed in spring 2018, Frassinelli commented that a goal is to finish and open it around Thanksgiving.
But the plans for construction don’t stop there. The new Dolan School of Business is in the midst of the approval process with the town of Fairfield, according to Frassinelli. The goal is to have it fully approved by the end of this year and to begin construction in 2018 with a completion date of summer 2019.
“We have a school of business program ranked number one in accounting in the state of Connecticut and a facility that does not reflect the excellence of the education, the faculty or the students coming out of the program,” said Frassinelli.
He believes the newly proposed plans for the facility will be reflective of the quality of the program. Frassinelli explained how technology will be critical in the new school, as it was critical for the new school of nursing. “We are confident that the new school of business will be a showcase for this new technology enhanced education,” he said.