Brown Hall set to receive necessary updates this summer

By PHU NGUYEN Reporter

Brown Hall, the oldest residence hall of South Dakota State University, built in the 1950s, will undergo a renovation project starting summer 2015.

According to Director of Residential Life Jeff Hale, the project is divided into three phases.

The first phase will be refurbishing the current eight restrooms. Hale said that Brown’s current bathrooms need “significant work.”

ESL student Mahmood Alnaseer says the bathrooms should be better. He believes that the bathrooms “are so old and so are other places.”

The second phase is to provide amenities such as washers, dryers and kitchens on each floor, so students do not need to journey to the basement to use such utilities any longer.

The final phase of the project is connecting Brown Hall to the central air conditioning system on campus, therefore eliminating the current window units as well as significantly improving the air quality.

The estimated cost for the project is $9.7 million, which comes directly from the housing rental fees.

An elevator as well as a little private space for students with disabilities and mobility impairments will also be added to the hall after the project finishes.

Hale says that the renovation costs less money than a total demolition of the building.

Despite the ongoing project, the building will still be fully occupied during the school year and the phases of the project will take place in summers and the project completed within three years.

Students are expected to overcome some inconveniences when the construction takes place such as blockage of the main entrance, removal of the central desk and relocated mailboxes in a remote area. However, Hale hopes the contractor will minimize the impacts.

The architectural design of the project is provided by MSH Architect.

“We try to make our students comfortable,” Hale said. SDSU is renovating Brown Hall in order to give it a contemporary appearance and better serve its residents.

“We are excited to see it finished,” Hale said. “We already got the paint color selected and we are working with the architects to get things done.”

The current residents of Brown Hall are excited about the renovation project.

In spite of the aging facilities, Brown Hall Residential Director Sarah Hoffman said that the atmosphere of the hall is pretty positive.

Morgan Orel, a freshman majoring in social work, said that she expects more unity between the halls, more lobby activities as well as more of a community atmosphere after the renovation.

“People in Brown are more active and more involved in activities than some other halls,” Orel said. “I really like living here beside the fact you need to go down to do the laundry or to use the kitchen.”