COVID-19 delays Lindenwood building plans

The+Library+and+Academic+Resources+Center%2C+the+newest+building+on+campus%2C+is+empty%2C+though+it+is+usually+bustling+with+students.++The+construction+of+new+campus+buildings+is+on+the+table%2C+but+is+currently+on+hold+because+of+COVID-19.++

Jessica Spivey

The Library and Academic Resources Center, the newest building on campus, is empty, though it is usually bustling with students. The construction of new campus buildings is on the table, but is currently on hold because of COVID-19.

Matt Hampton, Editor-in-Chief

Plans for new campus buildings and renovations at Lindenwood are on hold while officials determine how the coronavirus pandemic will affect the university’s future. 

Lindenwood’s president, John Porter, said plans for new facilities, including student housing and a science, technology, engineering, and math building, are postponed for the next several months until the university can make decisions based on enrollment for future semesters.

“Right now, all projects have been put on hold for 12 months,” Porter said. “If something comes in where the data says, ‘Maybe we should look at it sooner,’ then we’ll look at it sooner.”

Depending on the situation, Lindenwood may decide to start on some of the projects individually.  But for now, Porter said, Lindenwood is taking advantage of the campus closure to do deferred maintenance, including roof work on Roemer Hall, Butler Library, and the Lindenwood University Cultural Center and installing more efficient HVAC systems in other buildings.  

The original proposal included funds for campus maintenance as well as a STEM building, renovations to Young Hall, and the re-opening of Butler Library.  According to tentative plans shown to the city council in March, construction on student apartment buildings would start this summer. Porter has said he hopes the projects will create new opportunities and attract more students.  

But now, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing economic difficulty, including for colleges, Porter said the future of these plans is uncertain because Lindenwood and its Board of Trustees want to be “good stewards of our finances.”

“I don’t think anybody really knows what this is going to do, and hopefully we’ve got a robust student population coming, but we’ve got to wait and see and make decisions based on the data, and currently, nobody has data,” Porter said.