Barker’s addition to cost $4 million

by James Joy

Due to the increases in the size of the latest freshmen classes,Simpson College has been forced to make some changes in itsresidence halls. The recent addition to Barker Hall is part of theresponse Simpson has given to the challenge of providing suitablehousing to its students.

This construction will add 33 double, two triple and threeprivate rooms to Barker, and will be ready to open for the incomingclass of 2005. The addition will stretch east into the formerBarker parking lot, and the plans include a student courtyard to belocated adjacent to the new section of the building.

The expansion will also allow freshmen and sophomore students toreside in separate buildings beginning with the fall 2005class.

“The cool thing about the Barker addition is the basement area,”said Stephanie Krauth, associate dean of students. “It will have arecreation area, lounge, laundry facilities and a computerlab.”

According to Krauth, many students have complained in the pastabout the lack of recreation areas in Barker, so she’s optimistthat the new basement area will satisfy the needs of futurestudents. “Keeping the pool table away from the television andcouches will offer different types of areas for students,” Krauthsaid.

A unique characteristic for Barker will be the elevator thatmost likely will be built where the current stairwell is nowlocated. The elevator will be installed in accordance with theAmericans with Disabilities Act guidelines and regulations. “Wealways try to one up the ADA regulations,” Krauth said.

Also, rules were established with Downing Construction about theneed to limit the impact of the construction on current students.Downing, an Indianola based company, must report to the school 48hours in advance any loud construction projects.

“We want to be able to inform the residents in advance ofupcoming construction that could be disrupting,” Krauth said. “Ashell of the building will be completed and the interior work willbegin at the east end and work towards the existing building.”

Freshman Nolan Strohbehn, a current resident at Barker Hall, hasnot been affected by the construction. “The work has not botheredme at all,” Strohbehn said. “The only time you can hear anything iswhen you are in the stairwell.”

According to Ken Birkenholtz, vice president of business andfinance, the realization of this addition with all interiorfurnishings will have a cost of $4 million. “That is the entireproject; its turn-key,” Birkenholtz said.

Even with such a large price tag, Krauth promises that there isno direct effect on student tuition and fees.

“The room fees will not be raised as a result of the cost of theconstruction; future room fees are expected to help pay for thecost of the addition,” Krauth said. “However, any future rateincrease should only be normal cost increases and not a result ofthe construction.”