What's new on campus

A lot can change in a year. Consider all of the changes the campus has seen in just the last few months: the installation of Jonathan Borofsky’s public art piece, “Walking to the Sky”; the addition of Maggie Murph Café in Hunt Library; the demolition of the West Campus in preparation for the Gates Center for Computer Science. Think of how much more can change in 25 years.

During this year’s Homecom-ing celebration, Campus Design and Facility Development will lead an “Everything New Since You Were Here” tour, planned specifically to highlight the numerous and varied changes that have taken place since the class of 1971’s graduation.
For their 25th class reunion, the former students who shopped for textbooks in a tiny basement store in Baker Hall will now explore the University Center where Skibo Hall once stood. They will get to step into the “outdoor room” created by the 1990 east campus project — West Wing, Resnik, a horizontally oriented football field, and the University Center (built several years later in 1996), which were built to replace what was once a relatively empty space.

Over the course of Homecoming weekend, four one-hour tours will depart from the patio at the front of Warner Hall, just as those for prospective students do. However, these tours will not focus on student life and the anecdotes attached to many of the buildings it features. Rather, alumni will be treated to an overview of how the overall composition of campus has changed and to the smaller structures that have been added. The many pieces of outdoor art recently placed on campus will be highlighted, and the tour will provide alumni the opportunity to see the larger modifications.

Leading the plans for the walk through campus and personally directing a few of the tours is Peg Hart, senior project manager for Campus Design and Facility Development. Also an alumna of the architecture program, she began her studies at Carnegie Mellon in 1969.
Now, having been an employee of Carnegie Mellon for the past 12 years, she is well qualified to reacquaint the alumni with the campus.

“[Now, it is] a more urban campus. There is a sense of place, that you’re somewhere special. You’re not just wandering around, but you’re in an organized, cohesive space,” said Hart, noting that the historical section created by architect Henry Hornbostel similar to how it was in the early 1900s.

Despite the sweeping changes that have transformed the face of much of this campus, Hart said that certain aspects remain identical since she was here as a student. Many even evoke a nostalgic sentiment. “Some things, especially in the College of Fine Arts, are the same for me. The stairwells in that building look exactly the same, even smell exactly the same now as they did then.”

Bob Reppe, director of design for Campus Design and Facility Development, will also help lead these tours with an eye to what he believes are many exciting changes that have taken place recently, both externally and indoors.

“I think [the tour] will intrigue people.... What will be on people’s minds that doesn’t have to do with the landscape environment is what’s in between buildings,” he said. “I am looking forward to pointing out the things that have improved the quality of life here on campus.”

The recent additions to Carnegie Mellon may seem relatively small in comparison to the large structural modifications that have moved and transformed the shape and center of the campus since the 1970s; however, these changes are highly significant to the future of the university.

Though it may not be possible for alumni to see or be aware of everything that is different, like the new turf on the stadium field, or the multi-million dollar renovations in the fraternity quad, they will have the chance to view much of what’s new simply by taking a look around.

For those returning after having been gone many years, it may appear that much has been altered, but as Hart explains, “All the important things are still here.”