Construction Cash

Aug 242008
Authors: Johnny Hart

The clank of power tools against steel beams and the pulse of jackhammers breaking concrete have pervaded the CSU campus all summer, and university officials are planning to keep it that way for up to two years.

The construction projects across campus reflect the beginning of CSU’s major construction campaign — a project that will cost the university more than $300 million in debt payments over the next 50 years.

Nine major building projects are slated for the next two years, which include a new parking garage, the expansion of the Campus Recreation Center, a new Computer Sciences building and renovation of the Clark building.

While the projects are expected to improve the quality of a CSU education, it will be no easy task to dodge obstacles the projects will present — the biggest being parking.

The projects are expected to do away with 1,100 parking spaces this year, making a tight environment for off-campus students who will eventually use the new parking structure.

“It’s an eyesore,” said Taylor Smoot, president of the Associated Students of Colorado State University. “We have to do this if we want to [remain] competitive.”

Student parking this year will be diverted to a temporary dirt parking lot on the west lawn of the Lory Student Center to absorb some of the parking congestion. The lot is the future site of a campus amphitheater, which will be constructed after the new parking garage is completed.

All new structures on campus will follow the university’s new environmental direction, including the parking garage, which will feature solar panels atop the building.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program will certify every new building at the gold status, a level of environmental excellence not normally seen by universities, said Brian Chase the director of Facilities Management.

“Us shooting for gold is pretty extraordinary,” Chase said.

The new Academic Instruction building will feature an atrium that will allow more natural light to shine in and cut down on energy consumption, Chase said.

The building will also house campus’ biggest classroom, including state-of-the-art equipment and stadium-style seating with a proposal for a 3-D projection system.

“We’re trying to make this room the best classroom facility on campus,” Chase said.

The Academic Village will also see renovation with the addition of 200 new rooms to accommodate on-campus students.

Student fees and capital development funds will be utilized to help renovate the Clark building’s lecture halls and classrooms. Chase said students provided $2 million in fees and the state supplied $6 million.

“[Clark is] not that great,” Smoot said. “The students know it, the teachers know it, the custodians know it, the administration knows it, and so we’re going to address that.”

Several other campus projects have been proposed, but have not been allocated any funding yet.

These projects include an expansion of the Chemistry and Biology buildings, another parking garage near Green Hall and a 400-bedroom residence hall where Newsom Hall now stands, Chase said.

He said part of the reason for the construction is that it coincides with the university’s goals of expanding the student and faculty population, but also that some of the buildings really just need an update.

“We have a beautiful campus, and it’s important we maintain that beauty,” Smoot said.

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