February 10, 2003
A trio of projects will make Tech a more student-centered campus that better meets the needs and wants of current and future students.
The projects include the construction of a new, 300-bed residence hall that will connect to a renovated Surbeck Student Center, and extensive renovations to the King Center.
“These are exciting times at SDSM&T,” Tech President Dr. Richard Gowen said. “These are important and needed projects that will keep SDSM&T attractive to prospective students while enhancing the opportunities available for current students.”
The Tech Student Association assumed the leadership role for this initiative. Student leaders began communicating to the student body the idea of a general activity fee increase to pay for the Surbeck and wellness center portions of the projects in the fall of 2001. Numerous student forums, hearings, and campus newspaper articles all helped shape the proposals.
“A lot of times, students complain about not being able to see where their student fees are being used,” Student Association President Matt Goeden (CENG, Yankton) said. Goeden served on the committee that devised the projects. “This is a chance for students to directly see their student fees in action.”
Surbeck Student Center
The Surbeck Student Center, built in 1961, serves as the focal point for student activities on campus.
On the main floor, the project includes reconfiguring the front entrance, building a spacious student computer lab, significantly upgrading the South Lounge area, and reconfiguring conference rooms.
On the ground floor, the 2,000-square-foot space that now includes the bowling alley will be rejuvenated to create better space for student organizations, and the Student Activities and Leadership, Multicultural Affairs, and Ivanhoe International Center offices. The project also will upgrade the fire alarm and electrical systems.
“The projected view of the Surbeck Center is student-focused,” Tech student Kristen Heck (GEOE, Sioux Falls) said. Heck served on the committee that devised the Surbeck/Residence Hall project. “All the student organizations are planned together in a visible zone to get more involvement. There will be areas to relax and have a comfortable atmosphere as well as areas for study groups. Our view was to turn the Surbeck Center from administrative to student friendly and usable.”
The committee worked hard to make sure the Surbeck Center will continue to be attractive to students who live on campus and to commuter students, Dr. Pat Mahon, Tech’s Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, said. The lounge areas and student organization space also are designed to promote mingling and mixing of students.
“There’s a value to students learning about cultural differences and learning about Kwanzaa and Cinco de Mayo in a non-intrusive way,” Mahon said. “An engineering student from South Dakota may have limited exposure to different cultures. If they have that exposure here, then when they go to work in Atlanta, Georgia, or someplace in Michigan, they will already be comfortable with people of different nationalities.”
A new 300-bed residence hall will be constructed adjacent to the north end of the Surbeck Center. Room configurations will include suites and standard double rooms. Study lounges, a kitchen, and an exercise room also will be included. Since the residence hall will connect to the Surbeck Center’s main floor, a coffee and smoothie shop, the cashier’s office, the campus safety office, and a common front desk operation will serve both.
“Providing students with more of what they want is the best part of this building project,” Residence Life Director Reeny Wilson said. “We've talked with many students, held focus groups, gathered survey information, and more. Through a new residence hall, we will offer students more on-campus housing options, better meet their needs, and hopefully attract more students to the Tech campus.”
Heck, the student on the project committee, said the new hall will accomplish those goals.
“We've needed a new dormitory for several years now,” she said. “The new dorm will accommodate current students' needs with more conveniences. The way I think of the new dorm is a cheap apartment on campus. It will provide the basic necessities with a little bit of luxury, and it will be very convenient to students who are involved on campus.”
The students’ primary desire for the King Center was the reconstruction of existing weight and exercise rooms into an up-to-date wellness center.
To create the wellness center, several walls will be moved or removed to create much more space for the wellness center than is available now. Modern exercise equipment, television sets, and sound capabilities also will be added.
The existing locker room on the west end of the second floor will be converted to two locker rooms that enter into the new wellness center. The new locker rooms will be approximately 57 percent larger than existing locker room space. The new locker rooms not only will provide convenient service to the remodeled wellness center, but will provide an extra locker room and improved accommodations for visiting athletic teams. “Students will benefit by the project for the fact that they will have an inexpensive way to keep in shape that has the convenience of being on campus,” Heck said. “Right now, the King Center offers that same thing, but more students will be attracted to it because of the extended facility.”
“The renovations to the King Center are going to give the students a first-class wellness center which will allow students to work out and stay healthy without having to leave campus and buy a membership to an off-campus wellness center,” he said
An important part of the King Center Renovation is the creation of the Hardrock Room and Hardrocker Hall of Fame. That part of the project will be funded entirely by private donations.
The history of Tech athletics dates back to 1895 and professes more than 100 years of wins, losses, championships, and great individual achievements. As the Hardrock Club celebrates 50 years of service to Tech and Tech athletics, the hope is to permanently dedicate a place to not only remember the past, but to look to the future with pride for what Tech stands for on the playing field and in the classroom.
To this end, the planning for the Hardrock Room is nearly complete. This exciting project is an important part of the Hardrock Club's Golden Anniversary Campaign, a three-year campaign with a $1 million goal. The 3,995 square-foot addition will feature the new Hardrocker Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame will honor past athletes, coaches, teams, and contributors, as well as display athletic memorabilia from the university. A Hall of Fame committee has been established to set the criteria for induction and to begin reviewing candidates. Committee members include alumni Harold Fritzsche (ME ‘51), retired Tech coach Bob Hunt, Tech athletic director Hugh Welsh, retired Rapid City Journal sports editor Don Lindner, former Tech sports information director Jim Morrison, and current sports information director Tom Rudebusch. The Hall of Fame addition also will feature classroom and office space.
As a part of the Golden Anniversary Campaign, any person, company, or group pledging at least $1,500 over three years will receive a brick inscribed with their name or a name they choose to honor. The bricks will be placed in the Hardrocker Hall of Fame.
If you are interested in inscribing your name on a brick or otherwise assisting the Hardrock Club and its Golden Anniversary Campaign reach its goal, contact Tom Rudebusch at (605) 394-2601 or Brad Johnson at the Foundation at (800) 211-7591.
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