Find updates on recently completed construction projects that greeted students returning for the fall 2023 semester.
By Kelly Huth
The beauty of Lafayette’s campus in fall is undeniable. As students returned for fall 2023, several new spaces were ready to greet them.
Renovations are now complete at the Hugel Welcome Center at Markle Hall. The space—which often serves as the first space future Leopards head to when they arrive on campus—now offers a pedestrian walkway with native landscaping that beckons visitors from the top level of the Markle parking deck into the first level of Markle Hall. It was made possible thanks to a bequest from Charles “Charley” Hugel ’51 and his wife, Nina.
The space also features new furniture, decor, and video screens that feature quotes from Lafayette students, faculty, and alumni. The College hosted a dedication ceremony for the new space Sept. 29.
The historic step refurbishment has been completed with the steps open and lighting installed. Work on the Easton/College Hill Escarpment Hike-Bike Trail is expected to wrap up in early October.
Work on the south escarpment trails was supported by two grants from the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s Multimodal Transportation Fund. The project is focused on creating a safer and more accessible pathway for students, employees, residents, and visitors to travel between Downtown Easton and the College. The College also restored the Soldiers Monument, an 1872 memorial to 16 alumni who died while fighting with the Northern forces during the American Civil War.
In addition to refurbishing the steps, the College created a 6-foot-wide pathway, adding 1,100 feet of new trail that connects South College Drive to the Karl Stirner Arts Trail. The trail project helps meet the College’s and Easton’s sustainability goals to reduce carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. Safety lighting was added, as well as new seating areas. Native trees will be planted in early October. Trees will be added to restore the forested hillside, across campus, and in Scott Park, which will benefit the Easton community.
The Class of 1962 Gateway Plaza was dedicated Sept. 28 in honor of the class’s 60th reunion. The creation of the plaza was made possible with support from members of the Class of 1962 and will provide a welcoming entrance to campus between the Soldiers Monument and South College.
Lafayette soccer fans have a new space to cheer on the Leopards. Gummeson Grounds: Home of Mike Bourger ’44 Field at Oaks Stadium was unveiled in August. The College hosted a Community Day for Lehigh Valley youth Aug. 20, as the women’s soccer team played its home opener at the stadium. The dedication was held Aug. 25, at the first men’s home soccer game of the season.
Supported with a lead gift by former Lafayette soccer player Peter Gummeson ’80, the project benefited from significant contributions from more than 60 alumni, families, and classes. The new stadium is modeled after an old English-style soccer venue and offers roof-covered seating, a new press box, tiered outdoor terraces, and a new irrigation system.
Signage was recently installed on the north tower of McCartney North residence hall. Thanks to a generous commitment from Kenneth ’63 and Maureen Tator, the residences at 211 McCartney St. will now be known as Tator North. The new name was unveiled in June during Ken’s 50th reunion.
The McCartney Street housing complex, which features Tator North and McCartney South residence halls, debuted August 2020. Construction started on the second phase of McCartney Street housing in March 2023, and the residence hall is expected to open for the fall 2024 semester. The project aims for LEED silver certification and will offer housing for more than 160.
Work continues on other projects around campus, including the new Simon Center for Economics and Business (formerly Kunkel Hall), and renovations to Acopian Engineering Center, which are nearly complete. Want more details on the College’s capital projects underway? Visit the Facilities Planning site at facilitiesplanning.lafayette.edu. The site lists updates by project, as well as details on the Campus Master Plan.