ASC campus improvement moves forward

(10-07-2009)

New revenue streams and a favorable bond market will help bring four campus improvement projects to fruition at Adams State College, according to Bill Mansheim, vice president for Finance and Administration. The projects, totaling $7.7 million, include construction of a community room, installation of energy saving fixtures, renovation of student housing, and creation of a campus green.

The college is pursuing refinancing of existing 2004 bonds, supported by Adams State housing and food service, through Building America Bonds issued as part of the Federal Stimulus Plan. Mansheim explained the municipal bond market is offering the lowest interest rates in 40 years.

"We expect to refinance these bonds at about four percent interest, which will allow us to borrow enough to support these exciting new projects," he said. "This is only possible through some creative partnerships that will produce additional revenue."

Sodexo, the college's food service provider, has agreed to contribute $100,000 a year to finance capital construction projects on the campus.

Architect's rendering of Residences at Rex community room.

Architect's renderings of Residences at Rex community room.

"Sodexo has made a 15-year commitment to support growth at Adams State," Mansheim said. "This will allow us to construct and equip a multi-use community room in the Residences at Rex, which is now under construction." Estimated at $700,000, this facility will provide community members with a venue for entertainment, special events, and socializing.

The Residences at Rex will be an innovative structure combining student housing with community facilities at Rex Stadium. Designed by the architectural firm Davis Partnerships Architects, the project will be completed by the end of next summer. The architects say it will be the most unique facility in Division II athletics, in that it encompasses a 3,000-seat stadium with, a multi-purpose room; a press box area; and 16 four-bedroom apartments that wrap the existing football field and track.

Joseph Lear of Davis Partnerships described the project: "The Adams State College Auxiliary Housing project creates a center for the athletic and student housing areas of campus and is the centerpiece of a new campus green. Its west face encloses the existing football stadium and track, while the east face completes a new dormitory and social activities quadrangle. Masonry towers, glass curtainwalls, and cantilevering roofs are woven throughout the project in order to wrap the complex programs within and to create a dynamic, yet complimenting campus building on the exterior."

Savings for sustainability

The college expects to cut its electric bill by $100,000 a year by adopting energy-saving measures identified through a campus-wide Technical Energy Audit conducted by Rocky Mountain Trane. The energy service company guarantees that resulting savings will cover project expenses.

Plans call for replacing and retrofitting more than 10,000 light fixtures and installing 592 occupancy sensors to turn off lights when not needed. Mansheim noted the savings will not only cover the project, estimated at $1.4 million, but also offset energy use anticipated by the Residences at Rex and new stadium lighting. The energy audit also found the college can cut its water consumption by 40%, saving 7.5 million gallons a year, by installing low-water-use plumbing and fixtures.

Attractive campus climate

Also planned is a $4.1 million renovation of two residence hall areas. In Coronado D Wing, suites with 105 bed spaces and associated bathrooms will be remodeled, as will 50 rooms and community bathrooms in Girault South Wing. Both buildings are located on Stadium Drive.

"Adams State has made it a priority to upgrade student housing to satisfy current students and remain competitive in student admissions," Mansheim said.

The refinancing will also support creation of a campus green, estimated at $1.5 million, in front of the Residences at Rex.

"This project will give us a more 'traditionally' landscaped campus and create an attractive area conducive to street dances, tailgate parties, community concerts, and other open events," Mansheim said.

More renovations on the horizon

Anticipating a continuing advantageous bond market, the college also plans to pursue financing for another phase of campus improvement. In March 2008, students approved a new capital construction fee to support these renovations. The Residences at Rex is also being funded by the capital fee.

"It appears that in March 2010, the college will be able to finance $20 million worth of renovations," Mansheim said. "This will include substantial remodeling of the ES building, Music building, and Leon Memorial Concert Hall, and developing a new parking lot on Richardson Ave."

More Construction News

By Julie Waechter