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Rivier University plans new science center, athletic enhancements

Union Leader Correspondent

April 16. 2018 8:10PM
Conceptual renderings by Derck and Edson Associates show a newly proposed science center at the heart of Rivier University's campus in Nashua. (Derck and Edson Associates)

A new athletic pavilion, seen here in this conceptual drawing from Derck and Edson Associates, is proposed as part of a new phase of improvements being eyed for Rivier University in Nashua. (courtesy Derck and Edson Associates)

NASHUA — Rivier University is planning another makeover to its 43-acre campus, including a new science center, athletics facility improvements and an expansion to one of its existing buildings.

“Rivier is returning with Vision 2020,” said Sister Paula Marie Buley, president of the university. “Vision 2020 will take us, according to our motto, higher and better.”

Buley presented conceptual plans for Rivier’s next phase of renovations to the planning board last week.

The plans include a 30,000-square-foot science building, a 6,217-square-foot athletics pavilion, a gymnasium addition to the Muldoon Fitness Center and other improvements.

“We are really delighted to present the plans at a very initial phase,” said Buley.

The newly proposed science center will replace Mendel Hall and St. Joseph Hall; both buildings will eventually be demolished to pave way for the science center and parking area.

The two-story building will include an outdoor classroom and exterior rain garden.

“It is going to be a building that invites people in and is really a beacon,” said Tim Maness with Derck and Edson Associates of Pennsylvania, adding the new science facility will be a gathering space for all students.

The existing Medel Hall was constructed in 1959 and is about 9,000-square-feet, according to Maness, who said the new science space will be significantly larger and modern.

“The building itself is all about discovery and innovation — science on display, active learning and student faculty research,” he told city planners.

It will integrate biology, biotechnology, chemistry and physics with laboratories, lab prep areas, collaboration space and a visible learning environment with large windows, according to the conceptual plans.

Some driveways will be relocated to create a pedestrian-friendly zone, and the new science space will become the signature building at the center of Rivier’s campus, explained Maness.

Also included in the makeover is a new athletics pavilion — a one-story building with lockers, rest rooms, storage and training areas. Other improvements to the school’s softball field, Raider Diamond, include bleachers, dugouts, bullpens, a press box and netting.

The athletic space will be fully accessible and geared to improve the athletic experience for not just students, but fans and visitors as well, said Maness.

The Muldoon Fitness Center will also be expanded as part of the project, and will include a new gymnasium, locker area and storage space to help complete the remodel of the eastern end of campus.

“We have completed a conceptual phase,” said Maness, adding the technical details still must be finalized before an official site plan is presented to the planning board.

The university is hoping to start construction on the athletic improvements by the end of the year, he said.

Vision 2020 is the newest phase of renovations at Rivier University. Recently, the school upgraded its Clement Street corridor, and several years ago it launched a $4 million renovation project that improved the campus’ main entrance, building facades and parking lots.

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