There’s a lot of work going on in Old Main, but for project manager Lynda Martin, it’s a labor of love.
Classrooms and offices currently on the second floor are moving to other locations in the building to make way for the Institute for Women’s Leadership. Sprinklers will be installed, and mechanical, electrical and plumbing upgrades will be made throughout the 115-year-old building. Restrooms also will be added on the second and fourth floors.
Through it all, Martin said, “We’re trying to do it as lovingly as possible.”
Martin asked to lead the Old Main project and says she’s “grateful they allowed me to step in.” It’s the largest, most high-profile project she’s managed since coming to Texas Woman’s almost three years ago — a far cry from the barns she designed as a little girl because she thought they were interesting.
Her interest in architecture continued into high school in her hometown of Commerce.
“I wanted to take shop, but my mother made me take typing,” Martin said. (She does acknowledge that learning to type was a good thing.)
After graduating from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M-Commerce) with a degree in industry and business, Martin wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. She took a drafting job in a nearby town, but describes the company’s atmosphere as “very sexist.” The only other female in the company’s engineering department was the secretary, she said, adding that she felt out of place most of the time.
Martin has found a more favorable atmosphere in other jobs she’s held, whether it be on a construction crew or supporting electrical and mechanical engineers. In her experience, she said, they were “professional people who treated you with respect.”
She eventually moved to Denton to study interior design at the University of North Texas.
“I took all the art classes I could and just fell in love with studio art,” she said. Her degree is in photography.
Martin also worked in the facilities department at UNT, where she learned about project management. She brought that experience to TWU and hit the ground running.
“There’s so much activity on campus right now, it’s ‘All hands on deck,’” she said.
If there’s a downside to construction, Martin said, it’s knowing that “no matter how much you work on something, it’s going to change at some point, either for time or usage. But right now, it’s fun.”
As for Old Main, she said, “I’m thrilled we still have the original building for this university,” she said. “To have that is a real gift. It’s a pleasure to work on it, and we’re going to give it some love.”
Story by Karen Garcia