Students, staff concerned as Clark Building renovations delayed without donors

Laura Studley and Dorina Vida

Home to many departments, the Andrew G. Clark Building serves as a place of learning, working and asbestos.

Amid the renovation and construction on Colorado State University’s campus, students, faculty and staff have concerns about the state of Clark and when it will see an upgrade.

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Asbestos was removed from both the A and B wings when new ceiling tiles, flooring and paint were added, but is still present in the C-wing, according to previous coverage from The Collegian. While there is a myth that the presence of asbestos is toxic, it is only dangerous when broken down into a dust and inhaled, said Lynn Johnson, vice president of University Operations.

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A small insect blends in with the stains on the Clark A basement floors. (Collegian | Clara Scholtz)

“I admit that sometimes when I have seen all of the building go on around our wing, I get a little jealous,” journalism and media communication assistant professor Michael Humphrey wrote in an email to The Collegian. “I know how a university builds and re-designs buildings is complex, and I just keep hoping our time will come at some point. I think the bigger issue is when students are considering our program versus others along the Front Range or beyond, our building is not an asset.”

Every August, a capital planning meeting is held with the President’s Cabinet and the Council of Deans to discuss the vision on the accommodations for students within their respective departments. University Facilities are usually involved to provide insight into the master planning activities decided on by the Master Planning Committee, who is tasked with monitoring and maintaining the state of the campus.

Johnson said the deans’ involvement in this process is to ensure that students’ academic needs are being met through the facilities provided, such as labs, classrooms and lecture halls.

The Facilities Condition Index is one of the factors used while considering renovation and indicates the quality of a building set by the Master Planner Fred Haberecht and the facilities department. The size, layout and amount of real estate that each building occupies are additional factors of determining the need for renovation or reconstruction.

“I admit that sometimes when I have seen all of the building go on around our wing, I get a little jealous.” – Michael Humphrey, assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Communications

Depending on donations, existing budget and the FCI rating, buildings are placed at different priority levels. The Nancy Richardson Design Center is an example of a donation-based construction. Seeing that there are no present donors, immediate dangers or a low FCI rating, Clark’s renovation has been postponed.

“The most recent planning I’ve got are looking at what we can do with (Clark, Glover and Engineering), and we have program planning committees that are looking into those three spaces as well, trying to come up with if we were to able to increase the amount of square footage that’s within those spaces and what might that square footage look like,” Johnson said.

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Stained windows with distinct dirt built up over time that is visible around the window panels. (Collegian | Clara Scholtz)

The condition of buildings including the Behavioral Sciences Building, Biology Building and the newly expanded Michael Smith Natural Resources Building have some students questioning why Clark has not been renovated.

Housing and Dining Services, the Morgan Library, academic buildings, the Lory Student Center and the Student Recreation Center all have independent budgets, meaning construction for one building does not impact other buildings.

Because of this separation, Aylesworth is being reconstructed into Meridian Village at no expense to Clark. The Morgan Library is able to build a new fireplace in the lobby from its own budget. There is no financial overlap between these budgets, because they are all independent.

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But some improvements to Clark have been made over the past two years. The fire alarm systems in both the A and B wings were updated.

Johnson said she couldn’t give a solid time frame for renovations on Clark.

“Clark is definitely on our radar screen,” Johnson said. “Clark is definitely a building that is important to the University, and we will definitely be doing something.”

Laura Studley and Dorina Vida can be reached at news@collegian.com or on twitter @laurastudley_ and @simply_she_.