“On November 5, 2002, vote YES for higher education!”

JMU, looking up the Village hill towards CISATI think that deep down, everyone wants to see their children, as well as the children of others, succeeding in all that they do. Many, after completing high school, head off to college to pursue bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and even doctoral degrees, to prepare for success in whatever they decide to do after college. However, to educate, it takes money. And we can’t be putting the carriage in front of the horse, either. Before even considering what textbooks to adopt and how many professors we need, we first need a place to put these people. Which is where the 2002 Bond Referendum comes into play. The Virginia General Assembly has submitted a referendum to voters to authorize $900 million dollars in spending for educational facilities. At JMU, we get just under $100 million of the total in order to fund seven construction projects, according to the JMU Web site. First of all, we get funds for a Center for the Arts. This building will be built across Main Street from the main campus, and will house JMU’s School of Theatre and Dance. Currently, this department is housed in a building known as Theatre II, a former chicken hatchery. In addition to the arts facility, the bond also gives JMU a music recital hall. When JMU’s Music Building was originally designed, it included a recital hall, but due to budget constraints at the time, it was eliminated before construction began. Now is the time to put back what was previously eliminated to continue to improve JMU’s renowned music program. Across the freeway from the main campus, JMU needs a library on the CISAT campus. This allows for space to house specialized resources regarding science and technology, and also additional study space for students, which currently is quite scarce throughout the campus. Besides these new buildings being built, JMU also needs to renovate older Viewlex planetarium system at Wells Planetarium in Miller Hallbuildings to meet the needs of the academic programs to be housed inside them. The first two up for renovation, and included on this bond, are Miller Hall, as well as Harrison Hall. Miller Hall holds a special place near and dear to my own heart, and you can see the planetarium for Miller Hall at right. I’ve had countless classes there, and learned so very much. But as anyone will tell you, this building is not a walk in the park. The facilities are old and outdated, and as the Physics and Chemistry departments move across the freeway to the third CISAT academic building currently under construction, much of the space in Miller Hall, currently laboratory and storage space, will be vacant and unusable by other programs due to its specialized nature, as well as being obsolete. Thus a renovation is necessary, in order to modernize this building, as well as make better use of the space within Miller Hall. On that same token, Harrison Hall, directly on JMU’s quad and part of the original master plan for campus, is needing major renovations in order to house the School of Communication Studies, the School of Media Arts and Design, and several other departments. This building currently has a very strange configuration throughout, as well as being in an extremely dilapidated state, and many of the departments to be housed within Harrison Hall are currently located in either inadequate or temporary space. Lastly, two infrastructure improvements top off the plan for the nearly $100 million that would go to JMU projects. These plans are an improvement of the steam infrastructure, which will connect the two steam plants to provide more efficient heating to JMU’s buildings, and also update the boilers in the older of the two steam plants. Connecting the two steam plants also prevents serious disruptions to the University, by allowing one to take over in the event that one were to go down. In addition to steam improvements, the bond issue also allows JMU to continue its work towards full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by upgrading many of JMU’s older facilities to meet these guidelines. ADA compliance means fire alarms with high-intensity strobes, it means ramps for wheelchair access, handles vs. knobs for doors, and much more. Beyond JMU, this bond referendum will reach out and touch every public university, college, and community college in Virginia with various construction projects designed to help better educate our citizenry. So on November 5, Virginia voters, go out to your voting location, close the curtain, vote for a congressman, and then vote YES for Virginia’s bond referendum. The future is counting on your vote.

Date posted: October 31, 2002

Notes: The bond passed in the election! Thanks to everyone who voted.