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VSU construction: Light at the end of the tunnel

As the end of the year approaches, so—finally does nearly a decade of major construction projects on VSU’s main campus.

According to Thressea Boyd, director of communications, the final project is north campus’ Health Sciences and Business Administration building, costing $32 million. VSU expects construction to be completed in January 2014. According to Boyd’s article on the building, the project has been a part of the master plan since 2004.

“At this point we do not have any other major . . . construction project[s],” Boyd said. “The rest of the things you’ll see on campus would just be major and minor repairs and renovations.”

The HSBA building will greatly expand some departments, such as VSU’s nursing department.

“The construction for the nursing department, the Health Science building, is one of the smartest things VSU has done,” Mariah McDaniel, a senior nursing major, said. “When it’s all over, we’ll have one of the best nursing programs in the state.”

Boyd explained that due to a lack of available land, main campus won’t expand much in the near future. Occasionally, VSU will look at houses surrounding campus as they become available, but they are looked at on a one-on-one basis.

The HSBA building is one of the largest projects, but is by no means the only big thing that happened in the last several years. Since 2007, VSU completed numerous projects, such as the parking decks, Hopper Hall, Centennial Hall and the Student Union.

VSU’s 2004 master plan laid out detailed plans to expand main and north campus with the projects listed on the 2007-2009 construction schedule. According to Boyd, projects such as the Psychology Building, Ashley Hall, and the Bailey addition were added later, as the master plan was updated in 2007. The additional projects were added as funds became available.

According to VSU’s website, the earlier projects had a $150 million budget, which VSU successfully stuck to. The $150 million was acquired through bond issuance of public and private partners. Funds for the later projects were acquired separately.

The Psychology building cost $5 million, and Ashley Hall and the Bailey addition cost $5.5 million each. A detailed construction budget isn’t available online, but can be found in the library. According to Boyd, construction funding is listed as “capital projects” or “mmr” (major/minor renovations).

With such growth, students have definitely taken notice. Feelings toward construction, costs and effects are varied. While some new-to-campus freshmen have a positive outlook on the construction, some longer-time students’ views differ. Students that have attended VSU longer have lived through more construction, witnessing numerous projects.

“They’re making the campus look more presentable for future students,” Michaela Hutchinson, a freshman criminal justice major, said. “The first thing students look at in a college is the visual of it. If the campus doesn’t draw people in, they’re not going to be interested in the education part of the college.”

“Having to go the long way is an inconvenience,” Sarah Johnson, junior biology major, said. “Besides the Health Sciences building, we don’t need it all.”

Patricia Martin, sophomore biology major, said that she felt the construction was endless.

However, many do appreciate what the renovations are doing for VSU, including the administration.

According to Chelsea Wells, a graduate clinical counseling psychology student, all the construction can be annoying, especially that of the parking decks, but newly renovated buildings are good and show growth.

“We’ve had what we would consider ‘living learning’ construction,” Boyd said, which is construction that enhances the academic learning environment through places where students live and learn.

“Construction is a positive growth,” Boyd said. “It’s showing that we’re keeping our facilities up to date, providing the best facilities for our students in that living, learning environment.”

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