February 2019 News Perspective Online

Office of Development: Perkins Facilities and Capital Projects

Noise fills the air around Perkins! Usually we desire peaceful, quiet surroundings so that reading, conversation and contemplation can take place. But sometimes noise is good, when it means that our facilities are becoming even more useful, accessible and productive. That is what is happening right now.

Bridwell Library. Thanks to a substantial gift from the J.S. Bridwell Foundation of Wichita Falls, Texas, a long-planned renovation is taking place. Interior work has begun, and soon exterior construction will commence to create an accessible front entrance allowing people with mobility issues access to the building from the Quad (south) side. In addition, a new elevator is being installed at the front of the building for easy access to all areas of the library by everyone.

You will see a number of other changes. The circulation desk will be moved toward the front door so that patrons can receive help finding their way around the library. New lighting, signage and other accessibility features including restroom updates will be installed. Doctoral carrels will be relocated and storage enhanced.

Perkins Chapel. A steam leak last spring caused damage in Perkins Chapel. Unfortunately, the damage included the organ. Fortunately, some of the damage will be covered by insurance. Dean Craig Hill and the SMU administration have decided not only to fix the damage, but also make upgrades in the Chapel infrastructure. Last fall, the Chapel closed while the painting was repaired. In the fall of 2019, floors will be refinished, pews renewed and a new sound system installed. In a final phase, time yet to be determined, video capabilities will be installed along with HVAC improvements. A wonderful $931,000 gift allowed us to start the project, which will total approximately $3 million, including the organ.

New Parking Center. All who traverse the SMU campus know that parking is at a premium. A new parking facility is being constructed on the west side of Perkins behind Prothro, Selecman and Kirby halls. The facility will be jointly used by SMU and Highland Park United Methodist Church, as is the case with a number of parking facilities on campus. Although the construction makes getting around on campus temporarily less convenient, a finished, ultramodern parking facility will make life easier for decades to come.

We can all be thankful to be a part of the SMU community, which continues to thrive. I am thankful for supporters, past and present, who have and are giving resources so that our facilities are second to none.

With a thankful heart,

John Martin
Director of Development
Perkins School of Theology