New engineering building partially funded, construction delayed

For the past two years, engineering students have patiently awaited the completion of the new engineering building.

Senior Miesha Gibson walks past the new College of Engineering building on the corner of Meridian and Laurel on Tuesday. The building is nearing completion and will house the head quarters for CSU's Engineering department.
Senior Miesha Gibson walks past the new College of Engineering building on the corner of Meridian and Laurel on Tuesday. The building is nearing completion and will house the head quarters for CSU’s Engineering department.

According to CSU’s College of Engineering website, the building is “the highest construction priority,” and “critically needed to accommodate a rapidly-growing college.”

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Construction began in April 2011, causing Meridian Ave. to be shut down and removing parking options from campus. The project was scheduled to be complete by June 2013 with move-in through July and August — in time for the fall semester.

The new Scott Building will be a high-tech mecca for engineering majors at CSU and serve as a 24-hour study space for students of all disciplines.

So why won’t the $65 million project be done in time?

“From the beginning, the building was never fully funded,” said Mark Ritschard, the assistant dean of operations for the College of Engineering.

The Scott family, the namesake of the building and the most generous donors for the project, encouraged CSU to make the building larger. The original plans allotted for a smaller building, but the Scotts pledged an additional $2.5 million to create more space, according to Ritschard.

This amount was not enough to cover the size increase for the building. As of now, funding is still only at 88 percent of what is needed for completion, according to Ritschard.

The space, which is already in high demand in the engineering department, will remain unfinished until funds can be raised for completion.

CSU has kept engineering students in the loop about the changing dates through email updates.

“I knew enough to know the opening was delayed,” said Matt Hutchinson, a junior electrical engineering major.

About 15 percent of the building is still in need of basic construction — walls, flooring and lighting.

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“It’s at a fraction of capacity,” said Rob Meyer, the student network administrator for the College of Engineering

The current issue is overpopulation in the growing College of Engineering. But, having the space be incomplete is “inefficient and poorly set out,” according to Meyer.

The original plan was to raise additional funds during construction, but as the completion date comes closer, it is hard to predict where the remaining 12 percent of funding that is still needed will come from.

According to Ritschard, the main source for the remaining funds will be outside donations.

However, this valuable space can’t be utilized until funds are raised and the building is complete. In addition, the unfinished space must be heated and cooled to prevent damages to the piping system.

“Having a building that is unfinished that you still have to maintain is a waste of resources,” said sophomore Lucas Suazo, a biomedical sciences and chemical engineering double major. “I’m excited for it all, but honestly, I’m not sure what to expect.”

“They’re doing the best they can to get it open. You can’t just let rooms sit unfinished, but it’s still a process of building and just getting it done,” Hutchinson said.

The completed space has been prioritized for students. Currently, only two departments will not have the space allotted to them — civil engineering and the dean’s office.

“All of the instruction areas and classrooms are finished,” Ritschard said. “About 30 percent of what isn’t done is the Dean’s suite.”

Students will have nearly all the benefits of the building by the fall semester.

“I was expecting a fully operational building by fall,” Suazo said.

Ritschard said that the building is able to accommodate everyone, even if it is a tight squeeze at first.

There is already one potential funding pledge for the remaining costs, Ritschard said, and more money is expected to come.

Although it is unknown where the funding will come from, students can expect a finished building — when funds arrive.

Collegian Writer Mariah Wenzel can be reached at letters@collegian.com