Campus construction projects planned for summer

Photo by Daniel Degenhardt

Truman State University will be replacing the fire alarm system in the Student Recreation Center and some windows in the Greenwood building, as well as renovating the University fountain and plaza.

The Board of Governors passed a resolution at their October meeting to allow architecture and engineering assessment for the replacement of the rec center fire alarm system and Greenwood windows. The University has also been planning a renovation of the fountain and plaza area outside the Student Union Building for the past few years.

University architect Mark Schultz said the University has already hired an engineering company for multiple projects around campus, so they will also take on these new projects.

“If I know I have funding coming for a project, I need to put a design team together, evaluate the building, determine what needs to be done, what should be done, what we can afford to do and then put a big pack set of documents out that addresses the issues,” Schultz said.

Dave Rector, vice president for administration, finance and planning, said he anticipates having a construction bid ready for the Board of Governors’ approval at the February meeting, along with the plans for replacement of the Violette Hall roof and the fountain and plaza construction project.

Rector said if the University follows normal timelines, construction can happen over the summer when fewer students are on campus.

He said the state funded about two thirds of the needed funding for the Greenwood Autism Clinic. He said without the full funding, it made sense to spend the partial funding for some renovation, specifically the windows facing Halliburton and Normal streets.

Rector said the University has been working on the Greenwood project for three years, so it would be good to show progress and get more commitment from the state to fully fund the project. The window project cost is about $500,000.

Rector said the University has previously phased projects and their funding, but that is a difficult process, as full funding is not always guaranteed, and plans can change over time.

Schultz said the Greenwood windows are original to the 1930s, and many of them are boarded up.

Rector said all the projects should start as soon as Spring Commencement ends, and all except the plaza should be finished by the time students return for fall semester.

For the plaza and fountain project, Rector said if the budget allows for it, the grassy area between Magruder Hall and the Student Union Building might also be leveled and improved. He said the brickwork is a safety issue, as it has fallen in disrepair, and the University has conducted a fundraiser in which donors could purchase bricks with their names on it. The project is expected to cost about $1.2 million for full renovation.

Schultz said planning for the plaza and fountain project is done, and they are waiting to know how much the total funding will be.

Campus Recreation Director Susan Limestall said the Student Recreation Center has tried to be diligent in maintenance and repair requests. She said the fire alarm system is 21 years old and original to the building, making it hard to find replacement parts.

“At one point this fall, we had a sensor go bad — and I think the fire alarm went off five times that day,” Limestall said. “It doesn’t happen every week — it doesn’t even happen every month — but it happens a couple times a year, usually, that we have something go bad.”

Limestall said the rec center alarm system replacement will cost $33,100, which will come out of rec center funds designated for repairs and construction. This same fund paid for the rec center’s roof replacement last year.

She said the engineering assessment will likely not affect access to the rec center, and construction during the summer will not shut down the entire building, but certain spots could possibly be closed off.

Limestall said improvements and upkeep of the rec center protect the investments students make with their tuition dollars.