Tuesday, January 20, 2015

[264] ‘Domino effect’ of ongoing MTSU improvements gives new life to 51-year-old Cope Administration Building

Renovation brings needed infrastructure improvements, new offices
for business and technical operations, key administrators

MURFREESBORO – Several MTSU employees will start the semester in different offices in the Cope Administration Building as work concludes on a 10-month project to repair and renovate the 51-year-old structure.

Patti Miller, assistant vice president and university architect, said several administrative offices in Cope have been moved and renovated. Also, she said, Cope’s restrooms, lighting, plumbing, security and other infrastructure were upgraded. Asbestos was also removed from affected areas.

The work follows last March’s move of Admissions, Records, Financial Aid, Registrar and Bursar offices from Cope into the new Student Services and Admissions Center and the MT One Stop, Miller said.

“It was something of a domino effect,” Miller said of the $3 million project, which was approved by the State Building Commission. “Moving those operations from Cope allowed the opportunity for overdue repairs, building better workspaces and much-needed infrastructure improvements.”

The departments of Finance; Grant and Tax Accounting; Accounting Services; and Business and Finance Tech Support Services moved to new quarters on the first floor of Cope’s east wing once occupied by the offices of the Registrar and Bursar.

The second floor of the east wing now includes the President’s Office and the Legal Counsel, both of which moved upstairs to spaces vacated by Admissions and near the Marketing and Communications office.

The first floor of the west wing houses the Provost's Office, which expands into the President’s former office and keeps its current space across the hall; the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, which moves into the Legal Counsel’s old office; and the existing offices for Contracts and the Senior Vice President.

Most of the west wing’s second floor, vacated by Financial Aid and part of the relocated business operations, will eventually be filled by workers in the Information Technology Division now in the Cope basement.

Leonard Simms, senior architect with Gould Turner, who led the redesign, said the project allowed MTSU to address necessary improvements for safety, handicapped access and the workplace environment. Those efforts include:
·      Remodeling and replacement of fixtures in the public toilets on both floors to improve handicapped access;
·      Replacing old fan-coil HVAC units along exterior windows in most of the east wing with new, smaller and energy efficient systems;
·      Removal of asbestos in areas affected by the renovation and an elevator that was deemed not functional and a safety risk;
·      Better lighting, security, network and infrastructure upgrades for utilities.

Simms said the project balanced the need to modernize spaces and finishes while respecting the “rich history” of the early-60s era, 50,319-square-foot building.

 “These changes really give the building new life,” he said.

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