Construction Transforms Randolph Campus


Paul Watkins

Construction on the Randolph Campus continues during the school day. “I’m really pumped to have a theater,” Schoonover said. Schoonover is a member of SPA’s drama program and, like her fellow actors, looks forward to performing in SPA’s very own theater.

Looking out toward the Lily courtyard, the view of rubble, accented by bright-yellow cranes, dominates the scene. At Saint Paul Academy and Summit School, it becomes impossible to not let the construction affect the Randolph campus. After all, the Huss Center for the Performing Arts, the construction’s replacement, the target of millions of dollars of donations and thousands of combined work-hours, will next year be up and running.

Sophomore Ali Duval, an active member of SPA’s drama program, seems skeptical of the construction’s short-term effects. “The construction’s annoying because of where the buses come,” she said. “Walking to the lunch place is the wrong direction. The buses used to come next to the parking lot,” However, the long-term benefits convinced her of the Huss Center’s eventual success. “We’ll actually have a theater. We’ll actually have someplace to rehearse,” she said. “[The construction is] not as loud as I thought it’d be, which is good,”

Other members of the drama program light up when asked about the Huss center. “Everyone’s really excited except the seniors. The seniors won’t be here to be in Huss,” sophomore Emily Schoonover said. Schoonover also performs with the drama program. “I’m really pumped to have a theater, ” she said.

However, the current construction doesn’t excite sophomore Nina Perleberg, a member of the SPA choir. “I think I’m going to have to walk a lot more. Things might get separated. I feel I might not see people as much,” she said.

Construction of the Huss center started at the beginning of the summer, when the parking lot was relocated. Houses, owned by SPA, were knocked down to make room for the parking lot. Eric Edhlund, the Ice Arena and Property Manager for SPA elaborates on how this was part of the long term plans for construction:

“All the houses that were taken down for the construction of the Huss Center were owned by SPA. In total we took six properties down for the project. The tenants living in those properties had been rental tenants of SPA for over 4 years and were aware of SPA’s future development plans when they moved in, so this would not be a shock to them. In each of their lease agreements for renting at SPA there is clause about a 30 day termination notice in the event of future building plans. In fact, we were able to give the tenants a little over 90 days notice to find a new property — which they appreciated greatly,” Edhlund said.

The remaining six properties on the block between Randolph and Juno are still being rented.  Edhlund said that and those tenants are aware of a possible future expansion, a Phase 2 which could include sporting facilities. “But that is a little down the road, so we have time,” Edhlund said.

Whatever peoples’ outlook, it’s impossible to doubt the different culture that will be in place after the construction has finished. “I think it’ll be really nice [when it’s done]. The arts area will be more than a hallway. The arts are important,” Perleberg said.

NOTE:  This story has been edited to provide accurate perspective on the houses knocked down this summer.  The Rubicon staff apologies that an earlier draft was mistakenly printed in Cover Story in the September 2014 Print issue.