Major NDSU building projects to go before state board
Improving classrooms and lab buildings should be the top priority for North Dakota State University, the newly elected student body president said. Kevin Black, who stressed the importance of academic facilities during his recent campaign, said h...
Improving classrooms and lab buildings should be the top priority for North Dakota State University, the newly elected student body president said.
Kevin Black, who stressed the importance of academic facilities during his recent campaign, said he's pleased that two of NDSU's requests for state funding would improve learning facilities.
"We really need to put that priority and that focus on our academic infrastructure," Black said.
NDSU has $16 million in major building-project requests that are being evaluated by the state Board of Higher Education.
- $10 million to renovate Ceres Hall, which houses eight student services offices.
- $3 million to renovate Architecture Building/Ehly Hall to provide new laboratories and provide space for graduate students.
- $3 million for the renovation of Geosciences Hall, formerly known as Engineering and Technology.
In all, the board is reviewing about $200 million in requests for major building projects across the university system.
Board members will rank those requests and decide in June which ones to bring to the Legislature to seek state funding.
NDSU and the University of North Dakota can each pitch three projects and the other nine campuses can request two. UND has asked for about $30 million in projects plus another nearly $29 million for a UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences building.
Spokeswoman Najla Amundson said NDSU's request was more modest this year because the university anticipates asking for more money in the next biennium for a new library.
Prakash Mathew, NDSU vice president for student affairs, said officials see the need for a new library now, but they're not far enough along in the planning stages to request state funding.
"If we would have been ready, the library would have been No. 1," Mathew said.
Ceres Hall has been a priority for many years but hasn't been funded. Mathew called it a "very high student-impact building" because it houses registration, financial aid and other student services.
Black said while he agrees that many students benefit from that project, it's not a building students spend every day in like academic buildings.
Bernhardt Saini-Eidukat, chairman of the geosciences department, said the project would bring his department from three buildings into one.
"We're very excited about the possibility of being able to expand into a nice, renovated space, but it needs a lot of work in order to make it a modern, scientific laboratory space," he said.
Gary Smith, dean of Engineering and Architecture, said the proposal for his college would create excellent lab space for mostly interdisciplinary programs and affect nearly every department in the college.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590