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Lake Erie College continues new construction projects and significant renovations around campus over the summer months. From updates to spaces in College Hall, residence halls and Royce Hall for Fine and Performing Arts to brand new classrooms in the Garfield Center and the new equestrian arena at the George M. Humphrey Equestrian Center, students can look forward to these updates when they return for the fall semester.

After a partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Downtown Painesville Organization in the fall of 2019, Lake Erie College was selected as one of the sites across the country competing to receive a share of a $2 million grant from American Express. The top Main Streets were chosen for grant funds to preserve community historic sites. The focus of the 2019 Partners in Preservation: Main Streets grant was on historic places that celebrate the contributions of women in Main Street communities. LEC put forth College Hall as one of the oldest institutions for higher learning in the Western Reserve, from its start as a female seminary to a coeducational institution today. The college is also celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage by tracing the connections of alumnae, faculty and administrators to the suffrage initiative.

With the $150,000 grant from Partners in Preservation, work has begun on preserving College Hall’s grand entrance. The renovation includes new flooring, a permanent reception desk area, repair and painting to the walls and entrance doors, as well as updates to the back porch. The refurbishment of the entrances and welcome center will ensure that College Hall continues to welcome students and visitors as to campus.

Meanwhile, in Royce Hall, the C.K. Rickel Theatre is being renovated to better serve audiences. Thanks to the success of the annual arts gala, hosted by LEC for the past five years, the theater is seeing new seating, carpet, painting, lighting, and most importantly, better ADA accessibility. This past year the focus of the gala was a near-total theatre restoration, providing approximately $60,000 to the project. The renovations should be completed in time for theatre students to enjoy a new space in the fall 2020 semester.

Due to an increase in equestrian enrollment and the success of LEC’s competitive riding teams, the School of Equine Studies saw the need for another indoor arena. LEC launched the Imagine, Equine Arena Campaign two years ago, and as of this spring construction is underway on the new arena. Thanks to generous donors and a partnership with builder Ron Wenger of Weaver Commercial Contractor Inc., the new arena is nearing completion.

Thanks to donations and bond funding, the renovations continue around campus. In residence halls, returning students will find counter tops, sinks and faucets replaced, new carpeting, a water fountain with bottle filler in each dorm and more. Ritchie Athletic Training Center is receiving a face lift as workers replace the entrance doors and clean up the surrounding bricks. Around the whole campus, new fiber lines and an upgrade to the network infrastructure constitute the updates in Information Technology.

The last major project supported by donations and bond funding can be found in Garfield Center. The creation of a new learning suite, which will add two new classrooms adjacent to the cafeteria study area, has begun. A movable glass wall in one classroom will allow for a larger meeting room. The School of Education is always seeking to provide chances for student teachers to learn flexibility and these new classrooms should provide space and opportunity to grow.