Bart Luedeke Center opens after major renovations

Upgrades are part of strategic plan to reinvest in campus facilities
Rachel Stengel '14

One of the focal points of the 300-acre Lawrenceville campus looks much different this fall after receiving major renovations. The significant changes to the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC) were on display at the start of the fall semester — most noticeably a new facade after the demolition of the building's original concrete steps — and heralded with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Homecoming on Oct. 27.

Facilities seized the opportunity to revitalize one of the most-used buildings on campus after certain necessary repairs were needed.

"Since we needed to makes repairs to the steps, we decided to make other practical and aesthetic changes that would benefit the campus community," says Mike Reca, vice president for facilities and university operations. "The BLC is one of the most recognizable buildings on campus. We wanted to make it more functional and appealing for the Rider community and the thousands of visitors we have each year."

The BLC features a new main entrance and outdoor plaza that is adorned by a modern, metal canopy and additional landscaping. A staircase and walkway was added that connects the patio outside Cranberry's to the first floor for easy access to some of the main meeting and performance spaces in the building. 

Inside the building, the information desk relocated from the first floor to a new main lobby that was created on the ground floor. Updated design elements such as glass walls, new flooring and bright lighting help elevate the space and make it more inviting. The bathrooms on the ground floor were also renovated to include new fixtures and tile. 

Major renovations began this summer around campus and will continue throughout the next few years. 

"Renovations are a key aspect of our strategic plan. We need to ensure that our facilities are conducive to fostering the vibrant living and learning community we have here at Rider," says President Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D. "Investing in our facilities means that we are investing in our students and our academic reputation and reinvigorating enrollments." 

In addition to work on the BLC, Wright and Ridge residence halls recently received interior renovations, including new flooring, furniture, AC/heating units and bathrooms. Kroner Hall, Lake House and Delta Phi Epsilon are next to receive upgrades, which will be complete prior to the 2019-20 academic year. Outside the Student Recreation Center, construction on a new patio, complete with outdoor seating, will begin this fall for students to enjoy in the spring semester. 

Academic buildings are also in the midst of renovations. The first floor of Sweigart Hall was completely remodeled, with working continuing this semester. Classrooms through the building were updated and a data analytics lab was constructed. The first floor will also house a new cafe and outdoor patio, which will be complete prior to the spring semester. The Science and Technology Center is in the middle of an ambitious renovation plan to update the first floor of the original 30,000-square foot building. Various classroom, lecture halls and lab spaces throughout the building have been renovated to modernize Rider's facilities and accommodate the growth of science-related programs. 

The majority of the completed and planned projects were funded through $38.75 million of bond proceeds from fall 2017 and donor contributions.