A new year has begun on the Providence campus, and it’s exciting for us to begin to show students what we have envisioned and planned for their new community and residence building. The new residence hall has changed the skyline in Otterburne, standing 3 stories tall, tucked in near the river front.
“As summer turns to fall so our focus changes from the super structure (the bones of the building) to the mechanical/electrical systems (organs of the building),” explains Alan Klippenstein, Three Way Builders Project Manager for the new building.
A walk-through of the building this week proves the inside of the building is taking shape. Drywall is all but complete in the upper floors, but the work that takes place before the walls and ceilings go up is more remarkable. “The HVAC ducting and electrical systems in the building are the hidden heroes to the comfort and functionality of a building. Great planning and time is spent on the layout, coordination and installation of these complex systems.” Alan and his team have spent many hours in the Providence Dining Hall pouring over plans to coordinate the intricate and, when finished, largely unseen, installation.
This week, Heath Holden, chair of the Campus Redevelopment Taskforce, guided a few students through the building, visibly excited as he pointed out the spaces and areas the team has taken so much care to design. Extensive thought has been given to facilitating the best possible community experience while also affording students privacy, rest, and nurture. A community kitchen with commercial-grade ventilation; accessible washrooms, dorm rooms, and elevator; employee apartments designed to give students homey interactions with faculty and staff.
“Much of the excitement of the developing building, for me, comes from standing in the building and envisioning how students will use the space,” Marlin Reimer, Associate Vice President for Student Life, remarks. “These are a few of the moving images I see: students gathered on soft couches engaged in laughter over a friends’ absurd comment or engaged in intense debate about what they just learned in class; friends making a snack together in the community kitchen at night; Business students working on a project in the group work/study room; a professor having dinner with a group of students in their faculty apartment; a movie night with popcorn on a large screen TV; students singing or praying together in the large prayer/reflection room; someone on crutches using the elevator instead of walking up to the third floor; a mentor meeting with someone to see how they are doing; deep relationships forming as newly found friends hang out in their floor pods with those living near them.”
For Providence alumna Andrea Klippenstein (BA 2017), Executive Assistant at Three Way Builders, being on the construction site brings back a flood of memories. “Living in residence is one of my favorite memories from college. I still remember the excitement of walking into my room for the first time and spending the evening making it feel like home.” Now, as she makes her mark on the future Providence community, “that excited and curious first-year student inside of me bubbles up again. I’m amazed at how different the building looks week by week and I feel like, in some way, I’m helping prep the way for the unique memories future students will make while living here. And yes, I have to admit – I am jealous of whoever gets that 3rd floor, corner room with the amazing field view!”
The residence hall plan intentionally takes nature and light into account, just as accessibility, community and academia have also been prioritized. All aspects have been considered, as Providence develops a holistic living and learning experience to impact the entire Providence community.
Marlin Reimer sums up Providence’s goal: “Our desire is that as we live together on our campus, we would listen to and learn from each other inside and outside the classroom, as well as connect with and impact each other and those outside our campus in life-giving and meaningful ways – a caring Christ-centered learning community.”