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  • Hannah Perry

Academic Center Construction will Benefit Students

The Knott Academic Center is adding six new classrooms and offices. Anyone in the AC can hear the loud noise of construction when in the building. Crowded learning spaces called for the building’s expansion since it was first built. The 12,140 square foot addition will enhance the space and the renovation of the 49,074 square foot existing building will take place not long after.

Dr. Kraig Sheetz, the Executive Vice President, was involved with the logistics of shifting faculty to new temporary locations early on before construction started. The construction began in May 2020 though some preliminary electrical work was done earlier.

This is remarkable as the university was still open for learning during the COVID-19 outbreak and was building an addition to the Academic Center during the pandemic as well. Not only has the Mount community exemplified resilience and hard work throughout all of the uncertainties in recent months, but the administration has made its priorities clear about what additions and renovations need to be made to the school.

According to Dr. Levi Esses, the Dean of Students, anytime there is construction on a college campus, it shows growth. “It is always good to have that growth. Projects inspire donor base. It gets people excited about having new things,” he added. This is true as the number of Mount students in many departments will benefit from the expansion. The Bolte School of Business and the College of Liberal Arts will be the primary beneficiaries this time.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Boyd Creasman claimed that another major benefit is that a donor’s gifts make it possible to construct state-of-the-art classrooms that will feature some exciting new technology. “We have seen a growth in enrollment and we want to make sure that we offer students up-to-date classrooms that accommodate various teaching and learning styles. This, along with open spaces in the building will not only result in improved learning for students but will also feel more inviting,” Creasman stated.

Through architectural renderings, the Mount community sees the work that is going on in the effort to enhance the learning environment. The construction cost the Mount approximately $7.5 million, which was funded almost entirely by donor gifts and state funding. Dr. Robert Brennan (C’85), the Vice President for University Advancement, remarked, “This is only the beginning” as more construction projects will follow the expansion of the Knott Academic Center.”

Esses echoed the same sentiment: “The School of Business is expanding... There are a lot of classes that are expanding… This construction will benefit the students.” Once the construction is finalized, it will give more exposure to the university as the Mount logo will once again be shown on the side of the building that is exposed to those who drive on Route 15.

There is talk about a potential student-run coffee shop on the first floor of the AC, but that is not a priority for the university at this time. The construction will be completed in August 2022.


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