Academic year brings new students and exciting campus improvements

This week approximately 600 new freshmen from 29 different states are joining the AU family as well as nearly 400 transfer students. To meet the needs of new and returning students, the university is undergoing a series of enhancements that are sure to have a positive effect on academics and campus life this year.

Campus Enhancement Highlights

» The John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School opened last week, welcoming more than 150 area schoolchildren. The 32,000 square-foot building includes nine classrooms for third- through eighth-grade students and six labs that will be shared with Aurora University students.

» A new facade for Stephens Hall was installed this summer, adding aesthetics that complement the adjoining STEM School. During this work, new office and learning spaces were added in Stephens Hall.

» Parking lot expansions are in their final phases. University representatives worked closely with City of Aurora officials throughout the summer to maximize parking configurations on campus. As a result, approximately 200 new parking spaces will be added across three projects:

• Lot I (south of the STEM School) is currently open for faculty, staff and student parking.

• Lot E (south of UBH) is in the final stage of work and will open during the second week of classes.

• Lot J (on the eastern portion of Southlawn Place) will open in late September (The Counseling Center, Wellness Center, Campus Public Safety and University Communications will remain open during construction, accessible via a temporary pathway just south of the construction site.)

» Several new learning and activity spaces have been created, including:

• eight renovated classrooms in the Institute for Collaboration,

• a new state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation Lab in Alumni Hall,

• new Apple computer labs in Parolini Music Center and Dunham Hall (fully equipped by early September),

• the Spartan Hideaway, a new coffee shop and lounge (opening mid-September), and

• a renovated Thornton Gymnasium, with new flooring, new bleachers and a new mezzanine (opening late September).

» The Orchard Center opened earlier this summer and is hosting many adult and graduate classes. The facility includes a student lounge, computer lab, and on-site staff from admissions, financial aid, student accounts, and the registrar’s office, as well as faculty offices.

» The Hill Welcome Center and Schingoethe Museum is now the primary focus of AU’s construction efforts. This 20,000 square-foot structure will house gathering spaces, a recital/lecture hall and the Schingoethe collection. The building is expected to in the first part of 2015.