May 26, 2015 8:00AM
Commencement was like firing the starter’s pistol at a track meet for summer construction projects on the Pittsburg State University campus. No fewer than eight projects are expected to be ready for use before students return in August.
Including the expansion and renovation of the Overman Student Center, which began in 2014, the work underway totals nearly $20 million.
“This will be another busy summer in what has been quite a string of busy summers,” said Lindell Haverstic, project architect in PSU’s Office of Facilities Planning.
The biggest project, at a cost of $13.3 million, is the student center, which is slated to be completed in July.
“There are places on the second floor of the addition where visitors will have views of many of the campus icons, like the Centennial Bell Tower, the Oval, the arches of Carnie Smith Stadium and the Library,” Haverstic said.
The project includes an expanded, flexible ballroom with a sound system and acoustics for multiple types of programs; an expanded campus activities center complex; more student gathering and lounge spaces, additional meeting rooms and a bigger U-Club with new food options in the lower level.
The final segment in a years-long project to improve student housing began as soon as students moved out. The $4.3 million renovation of Nation Hall East includes new windows, wall surfaces, ceilings and floors, built-in cabinetry in the rooms, and renovated and expanded restrooms.
“The completion of Nation Hall renovation marks the conclusion of a critical effort to both revitalize and create new options for on-campus student housing at Pittsburg State,” said Steve Erwin, associate vice president for campus life and auxiliary services. “Beginning in 2000 with restoration of historic Willard Hall, the university has invested well over $30 million to assure that students have safe, comfortable and modern accommodations to support them in their academic goals. That includes the acquisition of Bonita Terrace and its transformation into Crimson Village, the renovation of Gibson Dining Hall, the construction of new apartment suites at Crimson Commons, and the renovation of all existing traditional residence halls.”
In the Weede PE Building, work began in April on a $985,000 locker and training room renovation that also includes a new HVAC system. In that same building, a $511,000 pool repair project began in May. In June, roof replacements will begin at both the Weede PE Building and at the Kelce College of Business. Together, those projects total $583,000.
Three smaller projects will also begin in June. Those include an upgrade to heating and air conditioning controls in the Kansas Technology Center ($125,000), door replacement in Yates Hall ($100,000), and an office remodeling project in the Kansas Technology Center to accommodate the KCCTE ($90,000).
“Summer is that time of year when we work hard to complete projects because that is when it is least disruptive to students and faculty,” Haverstic said. “We hope when everyone returns in the fall, they’ll be pleasantly surprised by all the university has accomplished.”