An EcoVillage, a new commons and more in the works this summer at Elon

Elon is undertaking a range of construction projects this summer that will enhance the student experience and upgrade academic spaces.

During the summer months at Elon University, the familiar buzz of campus life is replaced by the sounds of construction as crews are hard at work on improvements while students are away. Several projects in the works this summer will be ready for students and faculty when they return to campus in Fall 2024.

Loy Farm Living-Learning Community EcoVillage

The first phase of the Loy Farm Living-Learning Community (LLC) EcoVillage will be completed this summer, including six sustainable houses set to open in Fall 2024.

Blue prints showing the dimensions of a home
Plans for the first, student-built sustainable home in the Loy Farm LLC. The 550-square-foot home will be raised on piers and feature private and communal living spaces.

The LLC will offer an opportunity for hands-on learning through horticulture, agriculture and research with the Center for Environmental Studies. It will eventually include 12 sustainable homes along with a renovated ranch house that will serve as a common area. Students designed the first home alongside Robert Charest, associate professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Studies, with input from University Planning Design and Construction Management. The remaining 11 homes are being designed and built by outside firms.

“Each of the houses were designed by a different designer that gave us their solution for what sustainable living looks like, so each house has a different focus,” said Brad Moore, associate vice president for facilities and chief facilities officer. “This is an educational project because the students have been intimately involved in the design and construction processes and now, they will continue to learn firsthand about the benefits of sustainable design as they live in the houses.”

Each house is about 600 square feet and includes two bedrooms, a shared bathroom and common areas. The 12 students living in the houses during the 2024-25 academic year will have the opportunity to try them out before the university starts the second phase of the project. After the 2024-25 academic year, the university will search for six new designers for the remaining homes.

Hook, Brannock and Barney Halls

The final renovations of the Historic Neighborhood residence halls will be completed this summer with the finishing touches being put on Hook, Brannock and Barney Halls. Over the last seven years, work has been completed on Sloan, West, Virginia, Smith and Carolina. This summer, crews are updating the furniture and finishes in the residential rooms of Hook, Brannock and Barney in time for Move-In Day.

“Last year we did the bathroom upgrades, the year before we did window replacements,” said Moore. “To keep that building occupied during the school year, we’ve had to do the renovations in multiple phases.”

Gerald L. Francis Center

The fourth and final renovation of the Gerald L. Francis Center will be completed this summer with the addition of an office suite for nursing faculty and an update to the commons space. The building houses Elon’s School of Health Sciences.

The university has been updating the Francis Center over the last several years by adding skills labs, classrooms, student study spaces and a interprofessional lab equipped with augmented, virtual and mixed reality technology. Previous renovations added a new entry garden dedicated to those who have donated their bodies to science.

East Neighborhood Commons

East Neighborhood Commons under construction
East Neighborhood Commons under construction.

The new East Neighborhood Commons will be finished just in time for Fall 2024 Move-In Day. The three-story, 45,000-square-foot building will have 90 residential rooms (primarily for first-year students), faculty/staff apartments and office space. The commons will also include a “forum,” a large multipurpose room for class, meetings and social events.

East Neighborhood Commons under construction. The area serves as a residential hub for Civic Engagement and Social Innovation where students gain a greater awareness of social, cultural and political issues through engagement with faculty and staff. The East Neighborhood currently has more than 300 beds, but this new building will bring the neighborhood closer to the 500 to 600 beds that other neighborhoods have.

“The East Neighborhood provides a dynamic place for first-year students to begin their journey at Elon,” said Moore. “The building will provide a range of new amenities and features that will help the residents of East Neighborhood grow to be active global citizens.”

This university hopes this space will become an “eastern gateway” to main campus, denoting to travelers that they have arrived at Elon.

McMichael Science Center

For the past three summers, renovations have been ongoing in the McMichael Science Center to enhance the classrooms, labs and classrooms for the biology, chemistry and environmental science departments. The work this summer updates a major teaching lab. Another renovation phase, scheduled for Summer 2025, will focus on the common areas of the building.

Ropes Course Relocation

The Elon Challenge Course, currently at The Lodge property, is being relocated closer to the Phoenix Activities and Recreation Center (PARC). The Elon Challenge Course features both high and low elements and requires Campus Recreation & Wellness facilitators. The course is scheduled to open by Fall 2024.