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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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Clark renovation underway for approval, could cost $145 million

Completed in 1968, the Andrew G. Clark Building stands at the heart of Colorado State University’s campus, serving as a place of learning for decades, with its burgundy-tan color scheme drawing the public eye. But it may be time for this CSU building to get a makeover. 

“When we talk about renovations, sometimes people can think of superficial things: fixing the exterior or coming in and changing a few rooms here or there,” said Benjamin Withers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “What we are talking about here, especially with Clark C, is taking the building to the concrete core and the steel girders that are in the building so that we’ve got these large spaces that can then be reimagined. It’s more a revitalization and reconceptualization than just a renovation.”

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With the renovation plan in its early stages, the exact cost is unknown, but the estimate could be upwards of $145 million, said Vice President for University Operations Lynn Johnson. University Architect Mike Rush conducted preliminary renderings of what the Clark renovation would include and based an estimation off of these factors.

It’s important to understand that at this stage of discussing only concepts, any of these ideas could change as the conversation evolves and as we move toward deeper investigation into the possibilities and funding for any renovations.” -Lynn Johnson, vice president for University Operations

Plans for the new building include an addition of 70,000 square feet to either side of Clark B, student study spaces and classroom upgrades. The structural integrity of both the A- and C-wings are strong enough to allow for the renovation to retain these two buildings, Johnson said. 

When Facilities considers a building for renovation, it assesses if any part of the structure is salvageable. Facilities evaluates the different solutions that could be done to enhance the building’s quality. 

“One of the big assessments that we make on all of our facilities is whether it’s got good bones, good structure,” Johnson said. “If it does, how good is that, and is it something that we would take the time to do a renovation of, or is the building so poor in its bones that we need to scrap it?” 

The Clark C building
The Clark C Building as seen from The Plaza Aug. 30. Students frequently criticize the building for its low quality and need for repairs. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

The Clark Building serves as a hub for many programs within the University, not just restricted to the College of Liberal Arts. Clark brings value to the entire campus, Withers said. 

“I’d like to see the University see a totally revitalized academic center in Clark,” Withers said. “Many times, Clark is identified with the College of Liberal Arts, but we show that we serve students from all majors across campus (and) that there are other colleges that offer their courses in Clark. In many ways, Clark stands as a symbol for the University as a whole, just like the Morgan Library or the Lory Student Center.” 

With a $145 million price tag, plans for renovation will first need to address obtaining the resources. 

The state of Colorado filters fund requests through the Capital Development Committee. CSU is one of many applicants requesting state money for projects. Facilities identifies which University projects are of the most importance and adds them to the state list for funding.

Currently, there are two projects taking precedence over Clark that have been on the list for over five years, Johnson said. 

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“We’d like to see some progress before we start adding on any additional projects to the list,” Johnson said. “Would we consider adding Clark to the state list? Absolutely, but it takes several years to get a project through before we see funding coming in.”

Even though state funding isn’t guaranteed, Withers said he’s hopeful funding for Clark will come.

“Obviously, this is going to be one of the larger capital projects that the University’s had,” Withers said. “This is not just a college matter, but a University matter, and because Clark is so important to the University as a whole, I’m very optimistic that we will find not one donor, but, hopefully, several donors that will come in and help us with multiple aspects of this program.” 

CSU will not see the renovation become a reality until several years from now. Finding the financial resources for the project could take a few years in and of itself, Johnson wrote in an email to The Collegian.  

“It’s important to understand that at this stage of discussing only concepts, any of these ideas could change as the conversation evolves and as we move toward deeper investigation into the possibilities and funding for any renovations,” Johnson wrote. “This revisioning is an ongoing process. The final plan for how Clark will be renovated and a timeline for renovations of the Clark Building has not yet been determined.”

Laura Studley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurastudley_.

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