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The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

A Peak Behind The Fences: An Insider Look At The HUB Renovations

Photo by AJ Minnich.
Photo by AJ Minnich.

As every Moravian community member knows, construction on the new HUB is underway. Facilities Management, Planning & Construction (FMPC) is coordinating the project and ensuring that the community stays safe throughout its duration. Breaking ground on Feb 12, construction is expected to conclude sometime in the fall semester of the 2025-2026 school year. 

Steps For Environmental Sustainability:

Despite rumors circulating in some student circles, there was no asbestos in the old HUB while it was being torn down. According to Associate Director of Planning and Project Management at Moravian FMPC Amber Donato, Moravian used a company, Retro Environmental, Inc., to remove all of the asbestos from the building prior to the demolition through a process called abatement.

A survey of the building was conducted in the summer of 2023 to identify which areas of the building required abatement. When it came time for removal, those spaces were contained with air ventilation. Contractors also wore personal protective equipment during the removal process, and an air quality test was performed afterwards to ensure that the area was safe and contained no harmful contaminants.

After demolition began on March 4, students raised concerns about whether there were plans to replace the plants and trees that had to be removed as a result of the project. 

“We don’t like to lose trees, but sometimes it’s a casualty of the project,” said Donato.

However, she did confirm that there are currently 17 trees that are planned to be planted to replace the old ones once construction comes to an end. Some of the species include Eastern Redbud, Dragon Lady Holly, Sourwood, American Linden, and Princeton Elm. Several shrubs, grasses, and flowers will also be planted around the new building.

Many of the materials from the old building were recycled after demolition. This was done to minimize the environmental impact of the waste produced by the old building.

For example, the stone that was outside the northern entrance near Prosser Auditorium is staying with FMPC for reuse.

“The stone from the exterior of Prosser was moved to the Facilities yard, where it will be repurposed in the future for another small project on campus,” said Donato.

Additionally, 8.68 tons of metal was taken to a processor, where it was shredded, cleaned, and sent to be recycled into new metal products. Thirty-six tons of concrete rubble were also recycled and sent to a quarry to be crushed, screened, and turned into a variety of fill materials.

Some materials, however, were unable to be recycled or donated, such as the glass from the old windows, the old wood flooring, or parts of the seats that were in Prosser.

“We did explore potential donation sources. However, no one was interested in the chairs, so whatever could not be recycled was sent for disposal,” Donato said.

Changes to The STAR:

As many have seen, The STAR has shrunk in size, losing the alcove that housed 50 seats. The STAR will not get that seating back at the end of construction, as that space will be used for a second elevator and a staircase in the new HUB. However, Dining has been working to make its services more accessible during rush times, such as emphasizing the Green To Go containers to allow students to take their food out.

The hallway that leads to the original entrance to The STAR within the HUB will also receive some touch-ups, such as a new tile floor that will also be repainted.

The ramp outside of The STAR was installed to make that entrance compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), because the hill is too steep to be ADA-compliant.

Current Updates:

Construction is currently on schedule, with no delays or setbacks.

Currently, Warfel Construction is finishing removing the concrete foundations of the old HUB and is prepping the site for new foundations. To maintain the structure of the old building, Warfel will be using a process called shoring to reinforce the existing structure where The STAR and B&G are, while putting in the new foundations.

While many are eager to see the new HUB, students will not be able to resume daily use of the HUB until the project is fully completed and the City of Bethlehem grants it a Building Commercial Certificate of Occupancy.

When students return in the fall, the construction of the steel structure will be ongoing as long as there aren’t any weather-related delays.

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