By Matthew Liedke
Old Main renovations meld modern technology with the original character of the building
For more than a hundred years, North Dakota State College of Science’s Old Main has overlooked the campus.
It was built in 1891 and after a hundred years of use, the building needed renovations.
Executive Director of Facilities Management Dallas Fossum said work will ensure that Old Main stays standing for another 100 years.
Starting in February 2014, the renovation project at Old Main has been an effort to bring the best of two worlds together by fully revitalizing the building with new technology and its original character.
The full renovation of the building is expected to be finished by the summer of 2015and be ready for use during that fall semester. So far, Fossum said everything is running on schedule.
“We’re nearing completion on a lot of the structural steel work inside that was required both to accommodate the new design and to shore up the building so it can last for decades to come,” said Fossum. “They’re already framing a lot of interior walls and are nearly done with sheet rock work.”
Additionally, Fossum explained that a lot of the plumbing and electrical work has been accomplished. Currently, the crews are focused on the basement level of the building, as Fossum said there is renovation work to be completed on the drain tile to make sure moisture stays out of the building.
“The windows will then follow,” Fossum said. “The plan is to start installing the windows here in late September, working from the fourth floor down. They want to get it done this fall so they can do the finish work over the winter.”
As it nears completion, Fossum said landscaping work will begin to get completed and by mid-summer of 2015 the fence is expected to come down.
Upon its completion, the building will be utilized by students and faculty alike, holding both offices and classrooms. Also included will be a tutoring center and an academic services center.
“There’s excitement to get back into that building,” Fossum said. “There are a lot of people displaced in temporary offices, who are making it work, but they are excited to get back to their permanent location.
“We also have classrooms that will be set up in a collaborative style which will be the first of their kind on this campus,” Fossum continued. “The rooms will have round tables with technology at every table instead of the traditional lecture room. Our students are coming in and expecting a different way of learning, this is one of the ways to help accommodate that.”
There is also excitement from a tradition standpoint, as the building offers history both on the outside and after the renovation, the inside as well.
“When we started to demo the building, we were able to salvage a lot of historical items, including documents and pictures. Those will be displayed in cases or frames when the building is open,” Fossum said.
“This is the icon of the campus. When you drive into town, you see the ‘S.’ Anybody who comes to the school here knows about Old Main, whether or not they even had any classes in the building, they know Old Main,” he added. “That will be even more so with the future alumni because the activities in there will bring more people than the past many years.”
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