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Campus gets summer spruce-up

Friday, August 15, 2014

Baseball head coach Joe Spano, left; assistant coach, Charlie Spano

Several renovation projects intended to improve the “student experience” at Mercyhurst University took shape on the Erie campus this summer, including a long-awaited athletic facility.

Contractors are putting the finishing touches on a new batting facility, measuring 32 by 100 feet, for the university’s baseball team. Located between Tullio Field and the baseball field, the two-story pole barn features the team’s first locker room, a bathroom and a meeting/storage room overlooking two turf-floored batting cages.

The baseball team began fundraising in fall 2012 and collected donations from more than 100 alumni, parents and friends of both the baseball program and the university. To date, the team has raised over $65,000. As promised, Mercyhurst University matched the team’s first $60,000, bringing total funds to just under $130,000.

“I have been overwhelmed by the support of our donors,” said head coach Joseph Spano. “This is a reflection of the program as a whole and all of the quality people associated with it past, present and future. I feel blessed to be a part of the history of the program, and I can’t thank everyone enough for all of their support.”

Plans are to have the new addition completed by Homecoming & Family Weekend October 3-5.

Additional renovations on the Erie campus include:

  • Nearly $1 million went toward student housing improvements, including 500 new bedroom sets (bed frame, mattress, dresser, desk and chair), to replace furniture in the Briggs and Lewis apartments. Some of the old furniture sets were donated to Catholic Charities of Erie and the International Institute of Erie, thanks to the efforts of Mercyhurst Service Learning.
  • The communication department added a Media Convergence Center to the lower level of the Audrey Hirt Academic Center. It features a multimedia center that houses The Merciad and Laker TV, as well as a renovated graphic design studio and conference room.
  • The 2014 Senior Class Gift funded two projects: a student collaboration/study room in the Hammermill Library and a student “Spirit Section” at Tullio Field. The Spirit Section is designated by new signage and reserved solely for current Lakers.
  • A new lobby featuring a Wall of Fame and a trophy case will be installed in the Mercyhurst Athletic Center.
  • Rec Center improvements included a new roof and insulation.

Crews have been busy at the North East campus this summer, where numerous upgrades were made to health professions labs, including nearly $20,000 in new equipment supported by Perkins Grant funding, reported the Office of Academic Affairs.

Renovations continue on the new Hilton Hotel Lab at the Miller Estate property, where a construction team is installing a demo hotel room with real Hilton furniture, fixtures and equipment, as well as an industrial laundry lab. The lab is a gift from Hilton Worldwide.

Landscaping was enhanced around campus, including the Miller Hall grotto, which got a facelift thanks to a gift from university friend, trustee and philanthropist Robert Miller. Additional North East renovations include chapel roof painting and repair, repaving work on the parking lot and main road, new steel frames and doors in the townhouses and new topsoil and grass on the soccer field.

Mercyhurst University at the Booker T. Washington Center also saw renovations this summer, with the addition of a second computer lab and networking upgrades that now connect the BTWC to the Erie campus.