Author: Kirsten Swanson
[youtube]http://youtu.be/RlZLvZ3r9eg[/youtube]By Allison Sylte
Producer’s Note:Â This story is the first in a two-part series on the Lory Student Center renovations. CTV Reporter Bree Hottinger and Photojournalist Sean Korbitz contributed to the television story.
Behind the tall green fences and trailers that now line the west end of the Lory Student Center, a team of up to 30 construction workers have begun laying the foundation for the largest capital improvement project on campus in recent memory.
And once the summer is over, that team will expand to up to 300, who will work day and night to ensure that the $65 million project finishes both on time and on budget.
â€œItâ€™s always unique to remodel a building while itâ€™s being used,â€ said Bill Bialek, a CSU graduate and superintendent for Saunders Construction. â€œ… Itâ€™s a challenge to be in the center of campus, and in an area that is so frequently used by students.â€
Construction officially began during winter break, and so far, the crew has torn down the solarium and the west end of the south ballroom, as well as started to update the LSCâ€™s over 50-year-old utility system.
This process has involved navigating equipment around an underground steam tunnel, slowly chipping away at the student centerâ€™s exterior with a more than $80,000 remote control jackhammer, removing the remnants of an old ice rink and carefully recycling as many bricks as possible to achieve the projectâ€™s desired sustainability rating.
In addition, the crew has meticulously tried to salvage all of the sculptures and alumni plaques from the stairwell leading to the LSCâ€™s west entrance, as well as attempted to use as much signage as possible to ensure that students and staff members donâ€™t accidentally enter the construction area.
Currently, the project is both on time and on budget, Bialek said.
â€œSo far, we havenâ€™t gotten any complaints,â€ Bialek said. â€œWeâ€™ve tried to be as low-impact as possible.â€
But that didnâ€™t mean that students returning from winter break werenâ€™t jarred by yet another construction project on a campus where the sight of yellow tape and the sound of jackhammers is a familiar one.
â€œItâ€™s horrible,â€ said Samantha Denard, a sophomore ethnic studies major. â€œI mean, we came here to come to Colorado State, [but] we go to Construction State.â€
Since 2007, notable construction projects have included the Campus Recreation Center, Durell Center, the Behavioral Sciences building, Moby Arena, Rockwell Hall and the Computer Science building.
The $60 million of the LSC reconstruction project budget funded by bonds is the largest of any CSU project since 2007, according to a presentation found on the Facilities Management website.
The second most costly bonded project is the Lory Apartments, which will utilize bonds for the entirety of its $48 million budget.
University officials familiar with the bonds process were unavailable for comment by deadline.
The Lory Student Center renovation project will completely overhaul all 160,000 square feet of the facility, as well as add approximately 40,000 gross square feet. In April 2011, students approved a $70 student fee to help fund the project, which will not go into effect until fall 2015.
While the center is under construction, many of its services â€” including the Associated Student of CSU and the various campus advocacy offices â€” will be relocated to the MAC gym in the Campus Recreation Center.
â€œBut I think all the people that are involved in the relocation, all the student services offices, diversity offices, ASCSU government… I think they are all ready to work together and make the space work because without this space, they would be dispersed across campus and maybe some of them off campus,â€ said Judy Muenchow, the executive director for Campus Recreation.
Take a look at collegian.com’s story relating to the move in May here.
CTV Multimedia Reporter Allison Sylte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kirsten Swanson, Kari Pills, Sean Korbitz and Briana Hottinger contributed to this report.