December 7, 2023

An alumni member came to campus recently and was disappointed to see that nothing had changed since their time on campus. On one hand, it was nice to see the campus that they had spent a pivotal period of their life in still full of the same nostalgic memories, but it can be depressing to see that no renovations or upkeep had been made either.

According to the MyWitt home page, “Representatives from the architectural firm of MacLachan, Cornelius and Filoni, who are conducting our facility master planning process gave a PowerPoint presentation to the campus community on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.”

The PowerPoint was available to download and view until Monday, April 23 at 5 p.m. The architectural representatives hoped to hear from students, faculty and the administration of Wittenberg to get an idea of what the people who worked and lived on campus wanted to see changed.

Freshman Joseph Balliett and Braeden Bowen got wind of the contractors coming to the school looking for students’ opinions on the changes that needed to be made on campus, and came to the representatives with a compilation of ideas they had come up with.

“We were bored one night, so we decided to go around and look for updates that possibly needed to be made,” Balliett said.

Balliett and Bowen talked to students from various major departments to come up with some ideas to give the representatives.

Some of the biggest renovations that everyone felt needed to be made had to do with the academic buildings and off-campus houses, as well as general accessibility for the buildings on campus. Recitation Hall, for example, is incredibly difficult to navigate for anyone with a wheelchair or walking disabilities.

The campus itself is, in general, heavily underutilized, with buildings like Carnegie or Synod nearly empty and frankly depressing to be in, while a majority of the campus spends most of their time in Hollenbeck or the Science Center.

“Hollenbeck [feels] so much like a high school,” Balliett said. “[It’s] so jam packed, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid having a class in there.”

“You have 30 different subjects in Hollenbeck, and almost all 1,900 people in this school going in and out of it every day,” Bowen agreed. “We hope to alleviate some of this foot traffic, and make it feel more like a liberal arts college campus.”

Paul Loscheider, the interim Vice President for Finance and Administration, hoped that the projects created by the master plan of the campus would raise our school’s student population and be able to accommodate those additional students.

The administration themselves had a few sessions during which they spoke to students about the changes they wanted to see. The general sense from the sessions was consistent with what Bowen and Balliett found, that greater accessibility and overall renovations needed to be made to make Wittenberg the great and beautiful liberal arts campus it has the potential to be.

Bowen urged students on campus to go to the administration about the things they want to see changed.

“Unless [students] speak up, no one’s gonna know that people have a problem,” Bowen said.

He and Balliett both came to the admissions office with the results of their exploration of campus, and through that they were able to let the school know what the students wanted to see changed.

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