Building a better campus

Pat Bowden Reporter

Several construction projects are underway leading into the fall semester

The Facilities and Services Department dedicates itself to small and large continuous campus improvements throughout the year. The department’s summer projects ranged from construction of the new football stadium to creating a recreational area by the Wellness Center to conserving energy by focusing more efforts into using higher efficiency utilities and appliances.

Facilities and Services has aimed to get the bulk of the noisiest projects completed in order to avoid learning disruption in the fall semester. This also includes projects that could disrupt the functionality of campus, such as a large section of land blocked off for construction.

“This summer we were able to take the hills out of the roads [by the Wellness Center and Union] and make more crosses, and we also intend to connect the football field and the residential halls, which will be done by Ag Engineering,” Associate Vice President of Facilities and Services Dean Kattelmann said. “[This was to] let students have more recreation spaces and deal with the runoff of water issues … By Hobo Day we should have a nice recreation area out there.”

While there is much anticipation for the Dana J. Dykhouse stadium, there is still some controversy surrounding it and where else the money could have gone.

“I’m a strong supporter of academics, so I’m not sure how I feel about money going into athletics; [however], I think the recreation areas [such as the new one outside the Union] are better use of our money since we can use them,” said sophomore psychology major Mackenzie


Another large project on the summer agenda included the Brown Hall renovation, which is supposed to be finished and ready for move in by the fall of 2016. 

“The Brown Hall renovations have continued … the restrooms are all done, and in the winter they’ll be building the stair towers connecting the buildings, and by the time it’s done it’ll be a new building with AC in it,” Kattelmann said.

Many students are noticing the revitalization more so than any other construction project on campus, which has them eager for the finished product.

“I’ve noticed Brown Hall the most because when you walk through campus you see a lot of construction,” said Stulken. “Last year one of my friends lived there [in Brown] and now all the bathrooms are way nicer, and it’s generally a lot nicer living space.”

Large-scale projects completed over the summer include groundbreaking on the new cow/calf unit, north of the Highway 14 bypass, along with the groundbreaking of the new swine unit; work on a new campus north entrance on Stadium Drive and the relocation of the testing center, which Kattelmann said, “will be a game changer for the students who need that service.”

“All of the projects have their challenges … People can only put so much work into 12 weeks, and you have to look at that and adjust some of your construction so you’re not disruptive to classroom instruction,” Kattelmann said. “It’s a pretty consistent job, but you have to minimize your noise when the students come back.”

But not all the projects Facilities and Services do are large scale – or even obvious, for that matter. Numerous projects have started to impact student life on campus but remain mostly unnoticed such as relocating a set of flagpoles in front of DePuy Hall, re-roofing on The Union and Frost Arena, moving the Honors park to the west side of facilities to improve student foot traffic flow and changing old lighting systems to new, higher efficiency lights.

“The main involvement I’ve had is having 130 LED fixtures going into Ag Hall that will be much more efficient – they use a third to a quarter of the energy as the previous lights,” Facilities and Services Energy Conservation Engineer Luke Ganschow said. “The lights in the [Yeager] print lab will also get LED, as well as the basement of Lincoln Hall. The giant buildings will be noticed, but a lot of the other changes won’t be noticed at all … if it doesn’t affect you immediately, you don’t recognize it.”

To the point, some students will even admit that they aren’t aware of the many projects Facilities and Services undertakes, especially the small ones.

“It surprises me that Facilities and Services does so many projects,” Stulken said. 

Another continuous project that can go under the radar is the continual classroom updates that are under a five-year, $10 million plan to renovate 99 general classrooms—$5 million of which is coming from the SDSU Foundation and the other half is coming from higher education fees. 

“We’ve renovated 18 full classrooms in the past year, and unless you experienced them previously, you wouldn’t know they changed,” Ganschow said. 

And many students haven’t experienced the change yet, according to Stulken, but they’re happy to find out they are happening.

“I’m most excited about the renovated classrooms; I think that’s awesome,” Stulken said. “ … I didn’t know that they’re redoing 99 classrooms, that’s kind of crazy. It just makes it a nicer place to learn [because] some of the classrooms look kind of old and that they need some help … Wecota and Scobey are kind of creepy in the sense that they’re really old.”

Despite all of their work not always being noticed by their student customers, the faculty claims to still enjoy what they do, knowing that they are the large force making campus run smoothly. 

“I think we’re so diverse here and we really enjoy it, we’ve got a professional engineering staff, trades staff, general service staff, mail staff and custodial staff … It’s rewarding, most of the time it’s successful for the students and the faculty,” Kattelmann said.

Ganschow echoed Kattelmann’s gratitude, saying, “I can’t think of the last time I left there not knowing something I didn’t know before. There’s always an opportunity for growth [here].”