College set to expand Seegers Union

0
759
Small marking flags indicate construction work to be done at Seegers Union. Photo by Photo Editor Kira Bretsky '27.

Students coming back to campus after winter break may have been surprised to see bright spray paint and small flags extending from Seegers heading towards Chew St. Both the paint and the flags are the beginning of a Seegers expansion, set to break ground at the end of the academic year. The College first announced plans for a remodel three years ago while Fahy Commons was still in the planning process. Now, with Fahy Commons completed and operational, the College has plans to start on the second capital project in as many years. 

When the Seegers expansion was first announced in 2021, the initial design was to add 42,000 sq. ft. of space to the building, expanding it down to Chew St. Since the project was first announced, the plans have been slightly modified, though all the initial features have remained the same. According to Curt Topper, Muhlenberg’s CFO, “This will be a 37,000 square-foot expansion. It will include an enhanced Career Center that features dedicated space for preprofessional advising and career readiness. This will make career and preprofessional advising services visible, central and accessible for students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. The addition will include versatile classroom and gathering spaces for student organizations and activities, a relocated Office of Alumni Affairs, and a major new events space for all members of the Muhlenberg community.”

Muhlenberg has hired Philadelphia-based architects Voith and MacTavish LLP for the design, and the College is also working with Structure Tone Inc. to manage construction for the project. When discussing the timeline, Topper noted that “plans are still being finalized, but we hope to have construction underway this summer and to have all the work completed by January 2026.” 

Given that Seegers is the student hub on campus, the College is aware that the remodel could create a disruption to student life. Topper stated that Muhlenberg “is working with the construction manager to limit disruptions.” That being said, Topper also mentioned that “there will be periods during which some current rooms in Seegers Union will be taken offline for renovation.” 

It is important to note that this is not the first time that Muhlenberg has remodeled Seegers Union, so the College has experience with remodeling the building in a way that minimizes disruptions for students. Topper explained that “this is the fifth renovation [or] addition to Seegers. The most recent was the addition of the Wood Dining Commons. Across all these projects, our focus has been on improving the facility to support the student experience. We realize how central and essential Seegers is to campus life and culture—for dining, social gatherings, performances, lectures, student organization work, alumni events and much more—and we want to be sure to provide the best possible experience and spaces to our students, staff and faculty.”

The expansion will not come cheap. Topper estimates that “the Seegers expansion project will cost between $30 and $40 million.” To pay for the expansion, the College is using a combination of private funding and capital bond debt. At least some of the private funding is coming from the Boundless Campaign. As of right now, $12 million of the $104.3 million that the campaign has raised is going towards the project. Another source of funding was $7.5 million made in 2020 for capital projects. Part of that gift was used for Fahy Commons, but the remaining amount will help to fund the Seegers Expansion. Topper also reassured students that because the College is using both private funding and capital bonds, the project will not necessitate an increase in tuition charges. 

Not all students share the administration’s excitement about the expansion. Students are concerned about what construction means for the General’s Quarters and surrounding areas. Daniel Torres ‘25 expressed his concerns, stating, “[Possibly] not having [General’s Quarters] is really disappointing, and I really wish this could have been planned in a way that students wouldn’t have to worry about such a big hub having to be blocked off.”

Vered Wolpaw ‘25 shared a similar thought, saying “I also thought that it would be done while [most students weren’t here.] So hearing that it will take a very long time to be done and then [be]cause [it’s] a big place on campus that students spend a lot of their time, to be partially shut down is a little concerning.”

Another student, Ellie Alexander ‘26 mentioned that because of the small size of the school she wondered “what [the school is] going to do with all that space [once the construction is done].”  

Despite the concerns, some students are excited about the project. One anonymous student said, “I like the fact that they’re trying to expand and add some things that will make the school more attractive.” 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here