SDSU to see upgrades to academic facilities


SDSU will be getting some much needed campus upgrades during the next 10 years.

House Bill 1051, which was passed by the State’s legislature Feb. 23, is the ten-year capital improvement plan for the South Dakota Board of Regents. It provides authorization for high priority building projects on each public university campus. There are seven SDSU building projects in the bill, totaling just over 40 percent of the total expenditure that the BOR will be allowed to spend.

Five of the seven projects are for building new or renovating existing academic facilities at SDSU. The projects are intended to ensure that the university’s academic programs can meet facility-related accreditation standards. According to SDSU President David Chicoine, there are 15 SDSU programs that are awaiting accreditation, many of them for facility-related issues.

“To be accredited it takes two things: quality of program and quality of space,” Chicoine said.

All of the projects will be funded at least partially by the Higher Education Facilities Fund that is mandated by law to take $0.20 out of every tuition dollar. Utilities projects will be funded entirely by the HEFF, while academic facilities will be split between HEFF and private donations.

“We’re fund-raising all the time,” Chicoine said.

No state tax dollars are used in the construction of higher education buildings, a fact mentioned on the SD House of Representatives floor by Representative Lance Carson of district 20.

“There are no general fund (tax) dollars that will be used in this, the money will be raised from the outside or from HEFF funds,” he said.

The total cost of the various projects is not yet fully known, however, the bill authorizes the BOR to spend over $218 million. The plan in HB1051 contains cost estimates for the various projects but they are not final.

“We won’t know the actual costs until we hire an (architecture and engineering) firm,” Chicoine said.

According to Chicoine the first of the five capital projects SDSU will begin working on is a new headhouse and greenhouses to go with it. The new headhouse will then house the Industrial Arts program, so that the current Industrial Arts building can be demolished.

Once the current I.A. building is demolished, a new architecture, mathematics and engineering facility will be built on the site. The new building will be connected to Solberg Hall through an atrium. When completed, the building will house everything from studio space for architecture students to equipment and lab space for mechanical engineering.

According to the 10-year plan, the visual arts department is also slated to get a new facility, which will be located in the old seedhouse and the headhouse for the west greenhouses. Both buildings will be renovated for their new purpose. The seedhouse is currently used to store agricultural equipment and will have to be replaced. According to Chicoine, that will be done with a manufactured steel building.

The Performing Arts Center phase two and the new cow/calf unit are also included in the plan. The PAC project will include a new theater as well as classroom and office space for the music and theater departments, which Chicoine says is badly needed to maintain accreditation for the department.

“We had to bend over backwards to get accreditation last time because of space,” he said.

There are also two SDSU utilities projects contained in the bill. The first includes a new steam tunnel and auxiliary cooling plant. The tunnel and plant will connect several buildings on the North side of campus to the central heating plant. The second utility project will upgrade the sanitary and storm sewer systems on campus.