Lindenwood begins renovations on its Belleville campus

This story was originally published in the News-Democrat on June 25, 2008. It is being rerun in the wake of news that daytime programs at the Belleville, Illinois, campus will be moved to the St. Charles, MO, campus starting with the 2020-2021 academic year:

Lindenwood University is nearing completion of a couple of projects designed to help it meet its rapidly increasing student population.

“Within the next couple of days, weather permitting, we’ll be completing a new, 125-space parking lot,” said Gary Lopez, facilities manager for the school’s Bellevile campus. “And in August, we expect to finish the renovation of the library building behind the auditorium.”

Lopez pegged the cost of work to the library building, a two-story brick structure with space for 22 classrooms, at more than $1 million. The parking lot is being built on the west side of the campus on the former site of a building that once served as a tomato cannery and later was a Pepsi bottling plant. Its cost is estimated at $100,000, not including the price the school paid to buy the old building and then tear it down.

The work on the library building includes new windows and doors as well as tuck-pointing and a wheelchair ramp visible from the exterior. Inside, the classrooms will be set up with Internet connections and computerized overhead projectors for classroom presentations and new lighting.

The college now has 31 classrooms on the former Belleville West High School campus.

Lindenwood President James Evans projected that 1,400 people will attend the campus in 2009, compared with about 1,200 in 2008. Evans said Lindenwood’s board of directors soon will consider plans to add daytime classes at the campus. And when that happens, attendance could rise to about 5,500 students a day at the campus that opened about five years ago with just a handful of teachers attending night classes.

Belleville campus director Mary Radcliff said the additional space is needed because all of the classrooms in the main building are currently occupied.

Evans said Lindenwood’s growth won’t stop when work on the parking lot and library building are complete. He said the school plans to invest another $2 million in renovating the old Belleville West cafeteria and another $1 million in rehabbing classrooms inside the auditorium building.

When the work is done, Lindenwood expects to have spent more than $5.5 million improving the former Belleville West campus.