BGSU begins building plans
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor
Monday, 06 May 2013 09:37
Bowling Green State University is on the verge of nearly $200 million in building renovations, demolition and construction.
Starting soon, BGSU will have 112 projects in various stages, Steve Krakoff, head of capital planning at BGSU, told the university's board of trustees last week.
Though most are not in the visible stages, "all of these activities are now converging," and will take place during the next five to seven years, he said. The plans call for more flexibility and fewer classrooms.
Krakoff explained that BGSU is now making up for an estimated 15 years of not spending much on buildings.
"We lament the lack of investment" in buildings, he told the trustees.
Many of the building changes will be focused on improving space utilization and being more flexible for different teaching methods.
"We will be transforming the learning spaces on campus," he said. "This is really a huge change."
A goal will be to reach the greatest number of students during their first and second years on campus - thus helping boost student retention.
"We want to improve the student experience in the first two years," Krakoff said.
The new classroom designs are intended to meet the needs for at least 15 years out.
"We're designing for new students of tomorrow and faculty of tomorrow," he said. "Flexibility is key."
Another key is increasing space utilization of classrooms. Currently, BGSU has 45 percent usage of classrooms, while the state recommends 75 percent usage, Krakoff said. The aim is to maximize shared uses of space.
The test case will begin this week in Olscamp Hall, starting with demolition of the second floor. The plan calls for the traditional floor layout to be opened up for more flexible uses.
The plan also calls for the reduction of course sections, with the consolidation of low census classes.
That means the number of classrooms on campus will be reduced from 196 to 126, Krakoff said. There will be more larger classrooms, with more mid-range seating numbers. There will be far fewer classrooms that seat 20 to 50 students.
Krakoff also explained that emphasis is being placed on energy conservation in the new or renovated buildings.
"What we spend money on will have to last about 50 years in these buildings," he said. The university is already ahead of its goal to reduce energy usage on campus by 20 percent by 2014, Krakoff said.
The first two buildings to undergo major renovations are Moseley Hall, which will house mathematics and statistics, and South Hall, which will house media and communications.
But Krakoff cautioned that building space must be shared space.
"We must get away from the notion that building space is owned" by different programs, he said.
It is hoped that Moseley and South will be completed by December of 2014. Two other historically significant buildings, Hanna and University halls, will also be renovated.
Also in the plans is a new College of Business Administration Building, new Greek housing, renovations to the student recreation center, renovations to McDonald Residence Hall, a new student health center, renovations to the College of Health and Human Services, moving of the Honors Program to Founders Hall, and construction of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation lab. On the demolition schedule is the Administration Building, West Hall, Education Building, and the Family and Consumer Science Building.
Krakoff also suggested that the university revisit its feasibility study on building a hotel and conference center, because the economy has improved since the last study was conducted.