President Proenza reveals plans for new construction

When students come back for the fall semester, they can expect a few things:  broken ground for a new residence hall, an increased green initiative and a few more shrubs around campus.

When students come back for the fall semester, they can expect a few things:  broken ground for a new residence hall, an increased green initiative and a few more shrubs around campus.

For fall semester, we have mostly modest projects, but students can expect to see the beginnings of a new residence hall, said UA President Luis Proenza.  I don’t want to pinpoint the location because we’re still considering a few sites, but we are considering several locations in the southwest and southeast areas of campus.

Additionally, students will notice a bit of new landscaping, and the Memorial Hall excavation is scheduled to be completed by that time.

According to Proenza, the clean-up process of Memorial Hall has been delayed.  The failure to perform on the part of the contractor caused a delay in the deconstruction process, but a new contractor should expedite the process. 

Proenza also commented on the University’s green initiative, saying that the D+ grade given to The University of Akron by The College Sustainability Report Card needs to be taken in context. 

Initiatives were in place, but there needed to be better communication to make sure those initiatives were better understood, said Proenza.  There are several programs in place, including the Blue, Gold and Green initiative so that the University can move rapidly in being environmentally conscious and spreading our message broadly.

The Blue, Gold and Green initiative is a collection of steps The University of Akron has put into place to lessen its immediate consumption of energy.  According to UA’s website, the initiative calls for all building temperatures to be regulated more stringently.  During the cold months, all campus buildings are set at 68 degrees, while during the warm months, the cooling is set at 74 degrees.  Additionally, the University no longer allows the use of space heaters in University buildings.  Students, faculty and staff are to make a conscious effort to turn off lights, computers, copiers and similar electronic devices.

With the marked improvement of the campus’s parking situation, Proenza gives credit to the addition of the Exchange Street parking deck, but also points to the University’s parking staff. 

The parking staff has helped students find parking based on the time of day they arrive on campus, said Proenza.  Jim Stafford, along with the rest of the parking staff, has analyzed the awareness of traffic patterns, but most importantly, the drivers have made adjustments in their parking habits.

In an ideal world, everyone would have their own dedicated parking spot on campus, but that isn’t realistic.  I know it can be frustrating to not find a parking spot.  But I can’t either.

After over 12 years on the job, Proenza sometimes takes a step back and views the progression of The University of Akron under his tenure.

The University of Akron has always been a far better institution than people gave credit for, said Proenza.  We’re continuing to transform into a more prideful institution.

My goal for the University is to continue to ensure that we are the best in Northeast Ohio and recognized nationally as such.

Proenza isn’t sure if there is anything in particular he regrets, but that there are things he could have responded to earlier or later.

There are certainly issues to pick on or work on, said Proenza, but to focus on the positives, the physical transformation of our campus has brought so much positive regard to campus.  It’s that sense of pride that has lifted the University to where it should have been and makes former students come back.

But the pride starts with the students.  Whether it’s the law school, the residence hall program, the engineering program or our licensure pass rates, it comes down to the fact that student success is our success.

” #1.2029606:2469352879.JPG:President Luis Proenza:UA President Luis Proenza stopped by The Buchtelite on Monday. He discussed future plans for a residence hall and the reflection of success on the University through several expanding programs. Pictured above from left to right: Colleen Plank, junior, Caleb Clark, senior, Nathan Kemp, junior, and Proenza.:Emily Poor”