Workers making progress on new student center

Workers making progress on new student center
There was a spell, late last winter and early this spring, when the ground where the Coyote Student Center on The University of South Dakota campus once stood was simply barren.

After the last wall of the old CSC was knocked down and hauled away, no construction crew came in, as one would expect.

Instead, this part of campus, located north of the I.D. Weeks Library, remained quiet, in fear, it seemed, that students studying inside may be disturbed.

That's all changed.

Workers from Kraus-Anderson Construction Company arrived on campus approximately three weeks ago.

It's difficult for a layman driving by the work scene on Cherry Street to know exactly what's going on right now. Mounds of dirt seemed to have sprung up overnight.

At the same time, a large backhoe keeps busy day after day filling large dump trucks with soil that's been removed from the work area.

It appears there is a system of trenches being built on the work site. In fact, workers are starting the primary stages of constructing the new CSC's basement.

"We did a lot of the foundation work in December," said Catherine Wagner, USD's manager of planning and construction. "What you're seeing right now is the basement activity. There will be partial basements in the building for mechanical spaces, and that activity is currently going on."

Wagner said both the general contractor and USD officials are looking at having the new building complete sometime in the summer of 2008.

"We have not finalized the actual date on that yet, but we're still looking at the summer of 2008," she said.

The facility is designed to be a home-away-from-home for USD students.

A wing that currently exists on the south side of the I.D. Weeks Library will be extended to connect with the new CSC, creating a corridor to be used for study and computer use.

"One of the biggest, unique things in the new student center that we didn't have in the old building will be a ballroom," Wagner said. "And we will also have the multi-cultural center in the new student center. And, as before, the student organizations will be housed in that building."

The CSC will also be home to a Barnes & Noble bookstore. �

"High-end exterior finishes will feature glass, natural stone and zinc exterior skin," said Shawn R. Meschke, P.E, project manager for Kraus-Anderson. Meschke expects the project to be completed in August 2008.

The architect for the project is Charles Rose Architects, Inc. of Somerville, MA.

The building is designed to be both functional and comfortable.

"We will have a lounge area, much like the one that existed in the original student center, with televisions and more intimate environments," Wagner said.

The new CSC's total area of 75,000 square feet will be very similar to the area of the previous student center.

"But the footprint will be smaller, because the new building will be two stories, and the original one was one story," Wagner said. "The 75,000 square feet used to spread over one floor; with the new building, it will be spread over two floors."

Steps have been taken to make the new construction as environmentally friendly as possible.

"When we took the original building down, we saved all the white concrete," Wagner said, "to crush up and use for the foundation.

"We tried to recycle much of the old building," she added, "and we've gone with what are considered 'green products' in the new design."

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