Summer Renovations Prepare Campus for Fall Semester

July 9, 2020

By Laura Lemire '06

As usual, summer on the Hilltop is bustling with campus renovations and updates in preparation for students’ return to campus. This summer in particular, Saint Anselm College is working to safeguard the community from the novel coronavirus.

The first and largest of these projects is installing air purifiers in campus buildings. The small devices not typically found in standard HVAC systems, have been proven by a third-party to reduce the overall amount of coronavirus pathogens without producing harmful byproducts.

“We have an obligation to provide the safest possible environment given the circumstances, and this technology with its recent scientific findings aids in that task,” says Jonathan Woodcock, director of capital planning and projects.

Woodcock says that although there are several options on the market right now, they went with this technology not only because it was a healthier option but also due to its proven track record, lab results in COVID-19 testing, and ease of installation on campus.

The project begins with adding devices in at least 15 buildings across campus including the Coffee Shop, Goulet Science Center, Joseph Hall, Poisson Hall, Geisel Library, the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, and classrooms in Alumni Hall, Gadbois Hall, and Comiskey.

“Our immediate goal is to address facilities that have HVAC systems installed as well as provide standalone units for classroom spaces that might not have HVAC,” said Woodcock.

The devices purify the air using ions which reduce virus and bacteria pathogens, allergens, particles, smoke and odors. In a study conducted by a laboratory in California, the system was found to reduce the human coronavirus by 90%. The low-impact technology does not contain harmful chemicals nor does it emit mercury or ozone like other products on the market.

All the devices will be installed beginning July 13, slated for project completion by August 1, before the return of students to the Hilltop.

The air purifiers are just one of the many steps the college is taking to keep the community safe this coming academic year. In an email to the community on June 9 regarding the college’s reopening plans President Dr. Joseph Favazza shared the college’s developing protocols which included use of masks, implementing a testing and tracing program, and reducing density in housing and classroom space.

Read updates on the COVID-19 site

Other campus changes include modifications to how buildings are accessed and utilized. The college is diligently reviewing commonly used areas across campus including classrooms and event spaces to better accommodate social distancing. Part of those measures are removing furniture and modifying the flow of foot traffic. Increased hand sanitation stations and cleaning supplies are added to spaces for student and faculty use. Of course, cleaning protocols will be enhanced as well. Additional signage will also be a new sight on campus when students return to direct foot traffic, ensure social distancing, and communicate space changes.  

“We have said this will be a semester like no other, and that is certainly true. The Anselmian community has always looked out for one another, and this year it will be particularly important as we establish precautions with the goal of reducing our risk of spreading infection. At the same time, we will balance the necessary safety measures with an enjoyable and rewarding campus experience,” Dr. Favazza said to the community in an email on June 29.

Other campus projects this summer include adding the finishing touches on the college’s newest building on campus, the Savard Welcome Center which will open soon. Finally, the Campus Mail Center in the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center received a facelift to better accommodate students’ growing needs.

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