Campus buzzing with building projects

| Trent Becker Reporter |

More than $63 million in construction projects are under way on campus, making this one of the busiest building years in PSU history.
Since the adoption of the master plan in 2011, construction crews have been quickly chipping away toward PSU’s future, casting million-dollar projects all across campus.
So as summer session begins with fall around the corner, students may be wondering about the current state of each construction project. Paul Stewart, director of facilities planning, is overseeing all major construction projects on campus, providing the latest developments into the university’s future.

Center for the Arts

The Center for the Arts, PSU’s largest investment at $33 million, has been a dream project for nearly 40 years when the previous performance area, Carney Hall, was demolished.
The project is now in its last leg of development. Stewart says the construction will be complete by the fall 2014 semester with performances beginning the following spring.
The university expects to use this fall semester as an experimental period learning how to operate and use the building’s equipment.

“As far as any performances and things like that, it’s going to be the spring of 2015,” Stewart said. “We’ll have a chance to move in, occupy the building, get a good feel for the building and understand the building before there will be a major performance.”

The university plans to use the building for campus events at some point before the spring 2015 semester, a prospect that excites freshman choir student Anthony Gonzalez.

“As a choir student the expansion is very much needed as we need more room for talented musicians,” Gonzalez said.

Overman Student Center

A project funded and voted for by the student body is the expansion of the Overman Student Center. The project increases the size of the existing building and includes a larger University Club in addition to more easily accessible student organization offices.

Construction, however, has just started with a completion dates set for fall 2015.

“Demolition is occurring now, but really it’s just a building pad at this point,” Stewart said. “A building pad is getting it up to elevation or getting a gravel base down, but we have to put in the foundation system and that hasn’t started yet.”

Students attending the fall semester should expect the sidewalk near Yates Hall to be closed by the construction; however, Cleveland Plaza will remain open.

“I don’t know that there will be a big impact in what we will be seeing this fall when students get back,” Stewart said. “Some of the areas will be demoed, but other areas the students won’t see. Like downstairs in the University Club, that area will not be accessible in the fall, but you won’t be able to see in there.”

Scheduling the project in different phases is expected to minimize inconveniences to the campus community.

Plaster Center

The building named the Plaster Center is expected to hold future national track competitions, making this project a popular one among athletes and fans.

The construction has progressed to the building’s structure where crews have installed metal beams for the roof. The event center is likely to be completed by the spring of 2015.

The city of Pittsburg has offered considerable financial backing for this project. Senior vocational-technical education major William Holloway says he is encouraged by the university’s relationship with the city of Pittsburg.

“It’s refreshing to know the amount of support the city gives to the university,” Holloway said. “It’s amazing to go to a school supported so much by the community.”

The Plaster Center is expected to hold a variety of events, athletic and recreational.

Other construction

In addition to these main structures, crews are working on two other campus projects.

Heckert-Wells is undergoing interior renovations for dedicated exhausts, lab hoods and new air conditioning.

“We turned the building over April 28,” Stewart said. “On the fall semester side it will not be ready when school starts.”

Stewart noted that although the renovations will not be completed by this fall, minimal impacts are intended.

Part of Nation Hall is also being renovated this summer, though the university plans to have most of the work finished by the fall semester.

While the construction continues, the current work displays only a fraction of the master plan adopted in 2011. Students should expect to see more construction as funding is in place.

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