Bridgewater College President Addresses Construction Delay

Future Learning Commons is Topic of Discussion at Student Senate Meeting

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  • The John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons under construction. There is a webcam that shows a live pic of the building every 10 minutes available on Bridgewater’s official website at

  • The John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons as seen from East College Street.

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Alexander Naupari, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, VA – During the Campus Senate Meeting on Monday, Jan. 6, questions were raised about why the John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons had not been completed yet. Previously promised by Bridgewater administration to be completed by Monday, Jan. 6, some senators disclosed their frustration and confusion as to why the project had not been finished after years of construction. Due to this, Bridgewater College President David Bushman addressed those in attendance.

Bushman gave some reasons for the delay. He made reference to a stairwell that the construction crew was still working on needing to settle in properly. This stairwell is integral to setting every other part of the project that is still unfinished in place. It is this stairwell that Bushman claimed the construction crew is having difficulty finishing, due to the complexity of the design, thus causing delays. 

One senator asked Bushman specifically about the planning process for the updated building and how that was arranged. Bushman said along with other faculty members, he had been planning and coordinating with a main contractor and multiple different engineers on this project for the past six years. 

In addition to hiring a company that specializes in constructing smaller liberal arts colleges’ buildings, Bushman said he has met with these experts multiple times during the building’s construction. The president expressed his intention to meet with these experts on Jan. 8 once again to check on what progress had been accomplished. 

Director of the Forrer Learning Commons Andrew Pearson said, “The timeline on completing construction and opening for use is still unfolding because of the complexity of the project.” He also said that the various construction tasks are interdependent, meaning that a delay on one specific project can cause a delay on others. 

After all of the questions from the senators had been responded to, Bushman went on to apologize for the delays and acknowledged how irritated some students felt about not having the building accessible after years of waiting. He then told a personal anecdote about when he went through the same frustrating situation as an undergrad student. 

While in high school, Bushman was looking at different colleges to attend when he came across Loyola University in Maryland. One of the most important aspects of the college that attracted him was the small forest in the middle of the campus. It seemed like a nice, quiet place to relax and study, and that attraction stood out to him. 

Soon after, Bushman decided that Loyola University would be the best fit for him to attain his undergraduate education. As he started his freshman year, the forest was cut down and leveled out so that a large recreational edifice could be built in its place. Its construction would last even after Bushman had graduated. 

The college president shared and related his feelings of disappointment and frustration to the predicament Bridgewater students were experiencing, but promised the building would be completed by the end of spring semester at the very latest.