May 15th, 2003 @ 4:06 pm | Author:
Legislators included a major state-funded building project for Valley City State University in the 2003 higher education budget bill. The bill authorizes and funds VCSU to build an addition to Graichen Gym. The bill also authorizes the university to seek revenue bonds to renovate a residence hall during the coming biennium.

Graichen Gymnasium to Receive Upgrading and Addition - Graichen Gymnasium is located in the heart of campus, and is a primary academic/administration building. The building, constructed in 1923, consists of a lower level that provides office space for faculty and staff along with classroom and locker space. The upper level consists of an arena for a variety of activities including team sports practices, academic instruction, and varsity and intramural contests. Neither level of the building is at ground level.

The egress system for Graichen Gymnasium is in need of upgrading. There is only one set of stairs leading to/from the lower level. In an emergency where the stair well is impassable, the only means of exiting the building is through a window. The upper level does have a second exit at the south end of the building. Currently the building is not handicap-accessible at either level. Health and life safety upgrades are also needed in the lower level to improve safety, and the work and learning environment for building occupants.

The project will add a lobby area, elevator, rest rooms, and second stair well to the north end of the building providing an emergency egress and making both levels accessible to the handicapped. The project will also improve air quality by upgrading the lower level ventilation system. Fire safety will be improved by upgrading the lower level corridor, and classroom and office doors.

"This project is really important to the university and community," said Ron Pommerer, director of facilities services. "Graichen is a wonderful old building we use a lot, and the improvements will make it much safer and much more attractive. In addition this is our first new construction in many years. We are very grateful to our Senator Robinson and Representatives Metcalf and Mueller for their leadership in securing this project for the university."

Kolstoe Hall Renovation Project - The project will consist of converting Kolstoe Hall, a traditional style residence hall, into suites. Kolstoe Hall, built in 1967 is a four-story, 138 bed, double room residence hall. The plan calls for a complete renovation into two and four person suites with private bathrooms and living room areas. Included in the project is a new elevator, air-conditioning and a sprinkler system.

This renovation project which is part of the Valley City State University Master Plan, will meet the needs of today’s students who consider comfortable and private student housing an important factor in selecting a college. Currently the State Board of Higher Education has authorized Valley City State University to manage four residence halls that house approximately 350 students. The most recent new residence hall space was added in 1971. A renovated Kolstoe Hall will also provide attractive housing for summer workshops, conferences and camps.

"Student satisfaction surveys have clearly indicated a desire for upgraded campus housing" said Glen Schmalz, Vice President for Student Affairs. "Students have been involved in the planning process and will be a part of furniture selection and the final design. We expect that this project will be the first phase in a program of upgrading and renovating all residence hall space on campus."