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Campus to reopen with COVID precautions and capital improvements

Published on August 20, 2020

Campus to reopen with COVID precautions and capital improvements

When several thousand students, faculty and staff return to the Eastern campus next week for the start of the fall 2020 semester, they will find a campus that looks substantially different from the one they left on March 13 due to the pandemic. Some of the changes were preplanned improvements to buildings and facilities, while the most noticeable differences are signs of a college campus pressing onward in the era of COVID-19.

While summer is always a busy time for facilities staff as they clean, repair and spruce up buildings and grounds, the unanticipated impact of the coronavirus added to their workload. This year, the university’s summer efforts focused on preparing the campus for a safe fall reopening, and the transformation is ubiquitous.

General purpose classroom in the Communication Building with plexiglass-protected podium.

The Shafer Hall auditorium is repurposed as a lecture hall for the fall semester.

General purupose classroom in the Communication Building reset for social distance.

More than 6,000 signs posted across campus remind passersby of COVID-19 safety measures.

Blue tape lines hallways and classroom floors, indicating directional flow and spatial guidelines. Thousands of signs are posted across campus reminding passersby of physical distancing and face masks. Podiums are shielded with plexiglass in classrooms and lecture halls. Hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies await in all common indoor areas. Classroom layouts are reconfigured for social distance, and performance venues and auditoriums have been repurposed as lecture halls.

 “Maintaining the health and safety of the Eastern community will always be my top priority,” said Eastern President Elsa Nunez of the safety measures. “We share the responsibility to follow the proper procedures and we need to encourage our students to do the same. Together we can ensure the well-being of the campus community.”

For a detailed description of Eastern’s reopening plans, visit

The Sports Center's gymnasium floor has been refinished.

An updated exam room in the Student Health Center.

New stairwells are nearing completion in Low Rise Apartments.

Updated wayfinding signage.

While certain capital projects were delayed due to the ongoing health crisis, several improvements to the campus will be completed in time for the fall semester.

In Low Rise Apartments, new stairwells are nearing completion for the 100/200 and 300/400 buildings. The new stairs were redesigned to meet current building and fire codes and feature a grated tread to prevent the buildup of snow and ice. The new stairwells will complement the recently updated courtyard of the residential complex. 

The Sports Center gymnasium has a freshly polished look to it, as the floor was sanded down and refinished to include new layouts for basketball as required by the NCAA. Another gymnasium project, which was postponed, is the replacement of the bleachers, which will be re-bid for contractors this fall.

Completed in June, wayfinding signage across campus has been updated to include new buildings and upgraded color-coded maps. All sign posts and faces were repainted, as many had faded over the years.

Finally, the Student Health Center underwent improvements to its interior, and now has updated exam rooms with new flooring, sinks and cabinets, a replaced ceiling and upgraded lighting.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Categories: Facilities