Family housing to undergo renovations for better living

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 The South Dakota Senate Bill 24 to authorize the Board of Regents to demolish buildings on the campus of South Dakota State University was signed into law by Gov. Dennis Daugaard March 12, 2015.

 DSU plans to demolish parts of the Student Family Housing Facilities on campus in order to rebuild new, updated facilities now that the bill has been signed

 ssociate Vice President of Student Affairs Doug Wermedal said that SDSU plans to demolish only half of the housing facilities. Two different types of facilities make up Family Housing: the cinderblock buildings built in 1959 and the wood frame, single pane glass buildings built in 1971.

 lthough the wooden frame buildings are newer, Wermedal said that these are the buildings SDSU plans to tear down because they are “difficult and expensive to maintain.”

 “It’s the more poorly constructed of the two and hasn’t stayed up as well,” Wermedal said. “The buildings are expensive to operate. … For every $1 gained in rent, 52 cents go out the door with utilities and maintenance.”

 ermedal said that tearing down these facilities would allow SDSU to build a better housing option for families with improved contemporary amenity housing close to campus. He also said that SDSU has notions to try to house between 250 to 300 students in the new building instead of the 44 students able to live in the current facilities.

 he demolition of the buildings will take place between one year and four years from its signing into law.

 “Any kind of change in that space is at least 12 months away, 18 months away for replacement – two full years before there would be some sort of complete answers to what would be next in that space,” Wermedal said. “That’d be the earliest.”

 ason Walker, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, lives in the wooden frame facilities with his wife Taylor Walker, a freshman early childhood education major. The couple has been living in family housing since the start of the school year.

 “We wanted to live on campus so she [Taylor] could have the college experience and get to experience SDSU,” Walker said. “We also wanted to have our own place, so that was kind of the only option and it’s been a really good one.”

 alker believes that rebuilding the family housing developments would be a good investment for SDSU and that families would benefit from changes.

 “Probably an easier access to the bathroom, … adding a dishwasher and a washer and dryer would be nice as well,” Walker said. “The washer and dryer are about a block away in another building, so especially in the winter that kind of stinks because you have to haul your laundry in the snow back and forth and it kind of gets to be a pain.”

 ra Indurkar, Walker’s neighbor whose husband is a student in the SDSU Pharmacy program, also believes that access to the bathroom is the most important change.

 “The bathroom is in the bedroom, so it would be better if it had access for everyone,” Indurkar said. “A great thing they could do is if they could make it bigger. If someone visits for a day it becomes really difficult for what we have right now.”

 alker believes that having a bigger building would allow SDSU to provide central washing machines in the building so families no longer have to go outside to another building to do their laundry.

 lthough Indurkar and her husband will no longer live on campus next semester because of his graduation this May, she believes that the demolition is a good  idea  for  incoming  students.

 ince Walker is following a five-year degree, both he and his wife will “most likely be affected” by the demolition of the SDSU Student Family Housing facilities. As construction starts on the facilities, families will have to be displaced to other residences.

 ermedal said that SDSU has a number of options for families to move to while construction is underway and that there is also an “excellent local landlord community” within Brookings for families to use.

 alker thinks that SDSU’s plan to build better facilities is a good way to improve the quality of life for families living on campus.

 “Hopefully it will show them [incoming families] that SDSU actually does care about that area because sometimes it kind of seems like, especially since the buildings are so old, that they might be almost forgotten,” Walker said. “It would definitely show that SDSU cares about them and wants more of the family students to come as well as the traditional students that they expect to come to college.”

 ermedal said that this change and SDSU’s plan to renovate Brown Hall are both part of “the university’s master plan to offer students the best possible facilities.”