Students anticipate Pierson Hall reopening

$11 million overhaul includes new elevators, kitchen, laundry, basement


Zoey Schentzel

Pierson Hall construction began in May 2022 and will finish July 2023.

Gracie Terrall, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Pierson Hall has been under construction since the summer of 2021 to renovate the building’s student living spaces. 

Once the construction is complete in July, the updated residence hall will include a new elevator, HVAC system, windows, paint and room doors as well as a renovated basement, said Douglas Wermedal, the associate vice president for Student Affairs. But perhaps what student’s are most excited about is a new kitchen, lounge space and laundry that will be added to each floor. 

“We really only had one kitchen and the appliances were not good in it,” Anna Karels, a junior precision ag major who lived in Pierson her freshman year, said. “I don’t think I cooked any food in it. I think that would be a big update and also a place for people to meet and for people to actually cook.”

The building will be wheelchair accessible and remain as the Agriculture Living Learning Community (LLC). While Pierson is under construction, students have had to live in alternative residence halls, many choosing Brown and Matthews. Rebecca Peterson, the director of Housing and Residential Life, said the university had to reopen Wenneta Hall on the west side of campus to accommodate for lost space during the first few weeks of school, but said currently all of those students have transitioned back into permanent rooms. 

Blake Pulse, the Students’ Association president and former Pierson Hall resident, said he’s excited to see the updates, but is sad he wasn’t able to live there after the renovation. 

“I know that some of the freshmen I’ve talked to who live in the Ag LLC are really excited to get back to Pierson,” he said. “Nothing against Brown, but I think Pierson feels a little more like home. 

The basement, called the “Hobo Hangout,” will also receive updated study spaces and a stage for performances. 

“This is the only building with a full basement,” Bryan Bisson, assistant director for housing facilities, said. “One portion is for the Hobo Hangout and the other portion is the technical side.”

The project was originally quoted at $9.7 million, but that amount has since been raised to $11 million. Although the remodel included a lot of cosmetic and structural upgrades, officials had to cut some aesthetic projects for the building. 

“There are many things that were cut from the budget because they were more design choices that we will not have time for,” Wermedal said. “We imagined there would be an abstract outdoor art piece and some lobby treatments, but they were too expensive.”

Taylor McMartin, a senior ag communications and journalism major, lived in Pierson Hall from fall 2019 to spring 2021. McMartin is currently a student engagement ambassador for the SDSU Foundation, and part of her job is notifying alumni about changes to campus. She said she’s spoken with past alumni who lived in Pierson, and they are also excited about the renovations. 

“They’ve said to me, ‘yeah, I’m pretty sure that building hasn’t been updated since I lived there and even then some things needed to be fixed,’” McMartin said. “They’re all very happy that Pierson is getting the updates that it needs and deserves.”

Peterson said that if the Pierson Hall renovation goes well, it will serve as a model for halls like Young, Binnewies and Mathews down the road.