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Searle Center (Joel Calvert/Collegian)

Tow­ering over the Dow Lead­ership Center is the silver skeleton of the Searle Center. Below it, the hotel’s rooms seek a makeover, should donor funding pan out.
“We’re mostly focusing on the Searle Center for now, but we’re looking to improve the Dow’s rooms at some point as well,” Chief Admin­is­trative Officer Rich Péwé said.
The Searle Center’s con­struction began in the summer of 2014 and is expected to be com­pleted by August of 2015. By then, the more than $10 million building, with an audi­torium, dining room, and con­ference center, should be operable.
“We’re still not sure of a final date, but con­struction has gone well,” Péwé said. “A big part of the con­struction involves thawing the ground out, which is hard to do with it so cold.”
The Dow Center’s rooms have not yet seen the visible and obvious changes of the Searle Center because the college and hotel are busy trying to find the money to com­plete nec­essary ren­o­va­tions.
“We absolutely need better rooms,” Director of the Dow Center Teresa Heck­en­lively said.
So far, the college has only com­pleted a model room that serves to estimate what the ren­o­va­tions can achieve, while painting a picture of the improved quality of the new rooms.
“The model room is mostly to make sure the ren­o­va­tions won’t have too many lim­i­ta­tions, and we hope the room looks good,” Heck­en­lively said.
Heck­en­lively dis­cussed the issues with the hotel’s facil­ities, including the dated con­dition of the rooms, and improve­ments to uphol­stery, fur­niture, dec­o­ra­tions, and, espe­cially, bath­rooms.
“I think that if these ren­o­va­tions were com­pleted, the hotel would see more traffic,” Heck­en­lively said.
The Dow Center ren­o­va­tions are not slated for a final com­pletion date yet, and they have not been approved, but both Heck­en­lively and Péwé said they are hopeful of their ground­breaking. The Searle Center, the college’s current focus in ren­o­va­tions, must be com­pleted before fur­thering other projects.
Ren­o­va­tions on the new building have dis­placed events to other buildings around campus, such as the Center for Con­structive Alter­na­tives on American Jour­nalism: Yes­terday and Today, which was the third CCA to be held in the Bierman Ath­letic Center.
The new venue offers space and amenities the smaller Phillips Audi­torium in the Dow Center couldn’t.
“The ath­letic department, the catering, and the main­te­nance, and everyone has been really great, and made the Bierman Center very nice for us,” Director of Pro­grams for External Affairs Matt Bell said.
Bell con­firmed the CCAs will move into the Searle Center when it is com­pleted. He, like the rest of campus, said he is excited to see the new building, and is certain that the improve­ments will help make CCAs better expe­ri­ences for the stu­dents and the vis­iting donors and parents who attend the con­fer­ences.