ASU North Campus Transformation meets student needs
The dream is now reality
The seed that grew into Adams State's North Campus Transformation was planted at a campus-wide Day of Reflection in 2007, when students made one request loud and clear: upgrade campus housing.
Both the university and students have followed through. Administration developed a plan to not only upgrade existing housing, but to build the college's first new residence hall in more than 40 years. The plan also promised "extreme makeovers" for the Music Building, Leon Memorial Concert Hall, and ES Building (now McDaniel Hall). They were the only academic buildings that hadn't been recently replaced or remodeled. Students made an unprecedented commitment in spring 2008, when they voted to approve a new capital construction fee to finance the projects.
On July 9, 2009, Adams State broke ground for the North Campus Transformation. "This ceremony symbolizes a new beginning for ASU's North Campus," said President David Svaldi at the event. "It will be transformed into a center for student life that is inviting, comfortable, and green: green both for the ASU colors, as well as for utilizing green and efficient energy."
In fall 2010, 67 students moved into the Residences at Rex -- the most sought-after housing on campus. Sited just east of Rex Field, the 62,000 sq.-ft. facility is unique in that it integrates student housing with community stadium facilities. The apartment area has secure entrances that are separate from the stadium access.
The Rex Stadium portion of the facility was recently completed, with new seating on the east side to accommodate 3,000 home team fans, including a special section for the Grizzly Club. The building's third floor features Vistas restaurant, operated and funded by Sodexo (college food service contractor).
Spectators enter the stadium from the North Campus Green, which was developed by vacating the southern portion of Stadium Dr. This measure was approved by the Alamosa City Council in March, 2010. A pedestrian walkway flows southward from Plachy Hall, through the student housing area to the Student Union Building and across First St. to link with academic buildings along the South Campus walkway. Landscaping on the green and along the walkway creates a welcoming, natural space and creates continuity with the South Campus, noted for its broad lawns and majestic trees.
Positive living environment supports learning
"ASU's student housing improvements will not only help recruit and retain more students, but keep them in campus housing - which improves their level of engagement and the likelihood of finishing a degree," noted Dr. Michael Mumper, senior vice president for Enrollment Management and Program Development. Research shows that students who reside on campus form stronger relationships with each other and become more involved in extracurricular activities that complement their academic work.
Most of the Residences at Rex's 18 four-bedroom apartments overlook Rex Stadium, with terraces that are perfect for cheering on the Grizzlies and game-day grilling. Large windows give views of both the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan mountain ranges. This light-filled residence hall has become both incentive and reward for academic achievement: students desiring to live there are selected based on a matrix that considers grade point average and number of credits completed. Three wings in Girault and Coronado Halls were extensively remodeled, as well, with carpeting, new windows, plumbing and lighting fixtures, and finishes. The Coronado rooms include in-suite bathrooms.
Strategy for sensible growth
"Despite the discouraging economic climate, Adams State is more vibrant than ever, thanks to the vision and confidence of our students. Creating a more appealing campus is part of our enrollment growth strategy," Svaldi explained. "By building enrollment to fulfill the capacity of our campus facilities - we'll never become a college of ten thousand - Adams State can blunt the impact of continued state funding cuts. We can increase tuition income while keeping tuition rate increases to a minimum. Today more than ever, Adams State's affordability allows many students to achieve the dream of higher education."
That strategy is already succeeding. Adams State broke enrollment records for the third year in a row this fall. Enrollment growth is also supported by new academic programs and student support services; growing graduate, distance, and online education programs; and new intercollegiate sports, JV, and club teams.
North Campus facilities welcome community
ASU's North Campus Green is conducive to street dances, tailgate parties, community concerts, and other open events that bring together community members and students. The stadium's restaurant offer additional venues for entertainment, special events, and socializing.
Rex Stadium now boasts a 25-foot x 14-foot video display scoreboard, made possible by community donors. Stadium lighting will illuminate night games and other special events. In addition to a new ticket booth, concession stand, and restrooms, the stadium's first floor houses a visiting team locker room and "The Clawset," operated by the ASU Bookstore to offer Grizzly gear. On the fourth floor are a Press Box and President's Box, while a filming platform utilizes the roof.
Vistas restaurant is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Saturday from 4-10 p.m.; on games days it will open at noon.
$65 million in campus improvements
"Our recent campus upgrades rival the campus expansion that occurred in 1960s and '70s under ASU's third president, Dr. Fred Plachy," Svaldi said. "Dr. Plachy was known for his philosophy: 'The greatest power on earth is the power to grow.' Adams State's continued growth is a natural progression of Dr. Plachy's vision and essential to ASU's future."
The college's success spreads across the valley and bolsters the local economy. By the end of 2016, Adams State will have completed $65 million worth of new construction and renovation on campus since 2008. These projects include:
- Renovation and expansion of Plachy Hall, athletics facility
- North Campus Green and pedestrian walkway Residences at Rex/Community Stadium
- Renovation of three existing residence hall wings
- Refurbishing of Leon Memorial Concert Hall
- Renovation & addition to Music Building
- Renovation of McDaniel Hall (formerly ES Building)
- 4 new parking lots
- New soccer/lacrosse field and softball field, north of Plachy Hall along the river - both with synthetic turf
- SLV Center for Clinical Excellence - $1 million nursing simulation laboratory in Richardson Hall
- Renovation to Student Union Building cafeteria and shipping/receiving dock
- Performance contracts to upgrade plumbing, lighting, and HVAC systems for better energy conservation across campus
- Exterior rehabilitation of Rex Activity Center
- 300 kW Rooftop Solar project on Plachy Hall
- New tutoring center & research lab for Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
- New projection system and seating in Zacheis Planetarium
- New telescope observatory housing
By Julie Waechter