Summer construction creates campus improvements

Students will see Hilltop improvements when they step onto campus for Block 1 of the new academic year.

Science Facilities Project:

Students will get to use new classrooms inside the newly renovated West Science Hall
Students will get to use new classrooms inside West Science Hall

Construction crews have been busy finishing renovations in West Science Hall. At the end of July, workers added the final touches to the building, such as painting, and installing carpet and furniture. Physics, engineering, computer science, math, and statistics faculty began moving in at the beginning of August. Students will see a complete renovation of the interior, along with additional work on the outside of the building.

In addition, contractors are working on renovations to the first and third floors of Law Hall where the psychology and kinesiology departments will have new classrooms, faculty offices, and labs.

The Ped Mall, which runs through the center of the Hilltop campus, also received an extension. It now stretches in front of West Science Hall, Russell Science Center, and out to 5th Avenue. 

construction crews installing pavers on the new ped mall walking path
The Ped Mall was extended during summer 2019

The construction of Russell Science Center was the first phase of the project. Named after lead donor Jean Russell ’65, Russell Science Center opened in November 2018 for classes. It will be dedicated at Homecoming in October when the college celebrates the completion of all phases of the Science Facilities Project.

King Chapel repairs:

After about a year of work, the rare 1882 Seth Thomas clock will also return home to King Chapel. Crews are scheduled to re-install the ticker into the heart of the tower in September. 

Chuck Roeser of Lockport, New York, has been working to restore the clock since last summer. He and his staff have re-fabricated the clock dials, hands, and numerals; cleaned, restored, or re-fabricated the gearing, frame, and movement parts; rebushed the worn universals; and polished and lacquered the gears and arbors. Work will also soon wrap up on the roofing and stabilization portion of the tower project. 

The entire project was funded with a lead gift from Cornell College Trustee Linda Webb Koehn ’66 and her husband, honorary alumnus Thomas K. Koehn, and grants from the Stockman Family Foundation Trust of New York, the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Linn County Historic Preservation Commission, and the Nina E. and Victor D. Merveaux Endowed Fund for Historic Preservation.


Workers are making progress on a new competition soccer field, located a couple of blocks south of campus. Teams will be able to use the new field during the 2019 season. 

Photo of crane holding up new scoreboard
The new soccer field scoreboard was installed in early August

The renovation ensures the field meets current NCAA standards as crews completed a significant amount of site work including grading, drainage improvements, and irrigation. The project also includes a new scoreboard and six-foot fencing. Work to construct a restroom facility is underway. 

This project is possible with a lead donation from Cornell College Trustee Jan Thomas ’80 and her husband, Gary Doernhoefer; along with donations from Life Trustee Lee Swanson ’60 and his wife, honorary alumna Jacqui Swanson; and Trustee Scott Simmer ’73 and his wife, Peg Schoen.