Jan 282010
Authors: Ashley Watson

Referred to as the Mechanic Shop when it was first built in 1883, and recently known as the Industrial Sciences Building, the newly renovated Preconstruction Center has been transformed into a hands-on learning environment for construction management students.

When asked what the major goals of the renovation project were Thursday, the night of the official opening, Ron Holt from the Department of Construction Management said, “We had an antiquated building and wanted to create a new preconstruction learning center for students.”

CSU President Tony Frank agreed.

“This unique renovation project allowed the university to preserve an historic campus landmark that was in dire need of a renovation,” Frank said in a press release.

The $5 million restoration has provided students with resources around every corner and unique aspects to every room, university leaders said, commending the 170 people and companies who helped to preserve the space.

“Their support and collaboration is more than just an investment in a building,” Frank said in the same release. “ … It’s an investment in the long-term competitiveness of one of the nation’s top academic programs in construction management.”

The Haselden Preconstruction Learning Lab, named after one of the top project donors, Haselden Construction, is divided into 25 percent lecture area and 75 percent partitioned working spaces that construction management students will encounter in real-life job situations after college.

While giving a tour of the lab, Holt said, “This lab was built to give senior capstone students an environment they would actually encounter working in the (construction) industry.”

The room was built to include real-life examples of building design by exposing all the inner workings and structural elements of the building that would normally be covered by the walls and ceiling that make up a typical room. This way professors can have tangible examples of how to wire a room or how to lay out exhaust and air systems, instead of students having to conceptualize design ideas and methods.

Another unique aspect is the PCL Construction Classroom, named for another top donor, PCL Construction Services, Inc.

It boasts already saving the department money because of a new technology that allows what Holt called “distance learning.” The department can induce videoconferences with heads in the construction industry to have them speak to the classroom, and the university doesn’t have to pay to bring them across the country to do so.

Saunders Preconstruction Lecture Hall is the first lecture hall in the building.

Previously there was limited classroom space for the Construction Management Department, and Guggenheim Hall next door offers very little space for large lectures.
“This new addition will open more possibilities for classes,” Holt said.

Each room is named after a donor, and outside of each room is an interactive touch-screen LCD display advertising the company the room was named for. This provides students in the industry direction or ideas for projects, and they can use every company that donated to the construction of the building as a resource.

When asked how he felt about the finished product, Holt said, “I am extremely satisfied with the results.”

“It turned out fantastic,” he said.

Staff writer Ashley Watson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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