SDSU plans for another busy year of construction
By Eric Sandbulte, The Brookings Register
This year will be another busy one for construction crews as South Dakota State University continues to build new buildings, repurpose and remodel old buildings and add on to existing ones.
It’s nothing out of the ordinary for the lively campus, said Facilities and Services Associate Vice President Dean Kattelmann.
“There has been over $400 million of capital investment on campus (in the past 10 years). Right now, we have about $190 million either in construction or being planned.”
It’s a lot of work, but it serves as an important recruitment tool as the university strives to provide “first class facilities,” according to Kattelmann.
Of the many projects in the works, from a new Residential Life building to another house going up in Greek Village to a Harding Hall remodel and addition, here are some of the priciest projects expected to begin this year. Animal lab
The largest project of the bunch works is updating Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, expected to cost about $68 million.
That price tag reflects the amount of work that’ll go into the facility on the north edge of campus, which serves an important role testing for and researching animal diseases. During the recent bird flu outbreak, this lab was conducting testing of samples brought in from multiple states.
As Dr. Jane Hennings, professor and Veterinarian Biomedical Sciences Department head and director of the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Lab, said, “Disease doesn’t know any boundaries.”
They also have been taking on more responsibilities through connections such as their role in the Food Emergency Response Network, where, if ever there was a food borne pathogen or illness, they’d be ready to do testing . It’s one of several other national networks the facility plays a part in.
Construction will occur in two phases. The first phase would consist of an addition, featuring new diagnostic lab space on the north side of the existing research and diagnostic lab.
“What that is, is a new diagnostics laboratory. It’ll be the first biohazard level three diagnostic in the state. It’s very significant,” Kattelmann said.
Ensuring biosecurity at the labs will be a necessary part of the build, given the number of infectious disease samples that come in for testing.
The existing space will see plenty of its own renovations in phase two to bring it and utilities up to date, with new research labs to come from repurposing and remodeling existing space.
One of the perks of doing the build this way is that its staff won’t be displaced during the project, moving into the addition for a time as the main building is worked on.
The last time the facility was expanded was 1993, and it’s sorely needed, Hennings said.
“There’s a lot of aging infrastructure that we want to try and correct. ” The building’s plumbing , HVAC system is fairly old. Drainage systems that need some fixing, and that kind of thing,” she said. “We’ve been trying to keep up with it, but we’re at the end of life of those systems in fact a lot of those systems, they don’t even make anymore.”
According to Hennings, officials are still working to come up with another $46.2 million for the project. When construction can begin will depend on the funding ; it’s likely to be a topic of discussion during the upcoming session of the South Dakota Legislature.
If the necessary paperwork and fundraising go well, work could perhaps begin late 2017.
“I think if you have top-quality diagnostic services and research, I think those are draws for the expansion of the animal industry and biotech industries in the state and also getting expert personnel here who have specialized training in animal health,” she said.
The Performing Arts Center will also receive a major overhaul with a $50 million addition and some minor remodeling of the existing structure.
“The goal is to have it open in January 2019, and construction should start in May,” Kattelmann said.
The main attractions will be the two new performance spaces: an 800-seat proscenium-style theater and a 200-seat music recital hall. The music department can look forward to more classrooms and practice spaces in the southwest end of the building, and a pipe organ gifted to the PAC in 2015 will be installed in the new recital hall at no additional cost.
“So, you’ll have the school of performing arts all located in a single location,” Kattelmann said.
As for funding sources, according to an attachment to the October Board of Regents agenda packet, funding will come from $13 million of HEFF (Higher Education Facility Fund) bond funds and more than $35 million in gifts and donations, including $6 million from the City of Brookings through sales tax revenue.
Wellness Center addition
There’ll be a little more room to run (so to speak) with the $15 million addition onto the Wellness Center, with user fees covering most of the cost.
Proceeds from a general activity fee increase have provided about $12 million in funding, and work should begin in the summer .
“It’s probably a 39,000-squarefoot addition to the existing Wellness Center. The goal is to have that completed when the students come back in the summer, August 2018,” Kattelmann said.
It’ll be added onto the building’s north side, where the green space is used for outdoor activities such as sports camp training and tailgating. Planners anticipate there’ll still be plenty of room at the end of the build for those activities to continue without problem.
The addition itself will put in more courts, more fitness areas and more support space with the check-in area moved there. In the east side of the addition, there’ll be racquetball courts and a multipurpose activity court.
Some of the spots in the current building that’ll be renovated include the administrative offices, the Student Health Clinic and redoing the strength training floor.
Frost Arena will see substantial change with an addition and remodeling. There are a lot of unknowns in the project given how early in the planning process the athletics department is.
Still in talks with architects, the exact number of phases of construction that will be necessary , some of the features to be included and costs are all up for debate yet, said SDSU Director of Athletics Justin Sell.
“We’re really early in the process. That won’t come into clearer view until probably the spring. But we’re still trying to define some spaces and define number of seats and some other things. Until we get that, the numbers can swing pretty wildly ,” he said, though through official action with the Board of Regents, the project won’t exceed $15 million.
If all goes well with funding and state approval, he hopes the first phase of construction will begin in May or June.
Regardless, he knows the project will require multiple phases to complete with three main features: practice facilities for men’s and women’s basketball , a wrestling addition and extensive renovations of Frost Arena’s existing space.
For now, the plan is for the two practice areas to be built on the south side of Frost.
Doing that, Sell said, “positively impacts our volleyball program as well, because then it leaves the Frost Arena court all for them to use in the fall during their season.”
The wrestling addition would be built on the west side of the building. With anywhere from 30-35 wrestlers meeting, the current mat-and-a-half of practice space isn’t cutting it anymore for the growing program. With the addition, they should have three mats of space available to practice , along with locker rooms and coaches offices. Wrestling matches would still be done in the main arena.
There are plenty of other things that Sell would like to see renovated, but much of that would be dependent on funding: “We’re going to build or renovate what we can afford.”
No small obstacle for work on this facility will be the complexity of the space.
“There are a lot of different spaces in the building and the upper and lower levels of Frost” To make those work and try to really create a fan-friendly bowl, that’s the kind of architectural work we’re doing right now so we can start to hone in on how many seats we might have and what in terms of premium opportunities and how do we make it a great experience for the fans,” Sell said.
The plan is to build a concourse all the way around Frost Arena.
“We’ll be able to have concessions , restrooms, a club room to entertain. We’ll add some suites up on the south side up top. We’ll have those kinds of premium options and then we’ll have some kind of specially designed space for our students,” Sell said.
Contact Eric Sandbulte at email@example.com.