"Power to Grow" nurtures Adams State and San Luis Valley

(06-30-2009)

Opinion by Dr. David Svaldi

A month ago, Adams State hosted the grand opening of our new, improved athletics facility, Plachy Hall. More such campus celebrations are definitely in our future. Next week Adams State breaks ground on the first new student residence hall in over 40 years: the Residences at Rex. This project is stimulated by student need and made possible by student support. It will help us build student enrollment.

Plachy Hall's remodel kicked off a new era of campus renewal. Over the last dozen years, we focused on our academic buildings on the southern portion of campus: a new science and mathematics building, a new theatre, and renovated facilities for art and business. Students told us it is time to similarly upgrade the north campus, where they spend most of their time. They overwhelmingly approved a new fee to make that happen, like the fee they passed in 1992 to renovate the College Center and create the Rex Activity Center. The new fee will also finance substantial renovation of existing student housing and the ES and Music buildings. This will be the most ambitious building endeavor on our campus in nearly 50 years: between $40-50 million worth on improvement over the next five years.

These projects will not only upgrade the college's infrastructure and make us more competitive in recruiting students, but also bolster the local economy. For example, about one-quarter of the $12 million Plachy project went to local subcontractors. Every dollar Adams State spends generates another $1.70 in the community. Out-of-town contractors also spend locally for supplies, lodging, food, entertainment, etc.

Investing now in college growth will help assure the future of Adams State and the entire San Luis Valley. Continued cuts in state funding mean we must cultivate alternate revenue. We can increase tuition income by recruiting and retaining more students - creating a more appealing campus is part of that strategy. We are building great momentum: enrollment this past spring and summer was higher than in 2008; undergraduate enrollment for the fall semester is up more than 14 percent. Growth will continue from new academic programs, like our online Master's of Business Administration and four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and from five new athletic programs coming over the next two years.

The Residences at Rex project includes 16 four-bedroom apartments for 64 students, as well as a new community stadium. It will be built on the western half of the current Rex Stadium parking lot. The stadium portion of the building will feature new home seating, a locker room for visiting or community teams, a community room, and restaurant. Stadium lighting will be installed to allow night games for regional high school games or tournaments. We have held public meetings to describe our plans and discuss construction impacts. More such meetings will be scheduled as our progress continues. (More information and construction diagrams are available on our website.)

Dr. Fred Plachy - ASC's third president and the namesake of Plachy Hall - was known for his philosophy: "The greatest power on earth is the power to grow." Adams State's Ten-Year Campus Master Plan provides an outline for deliberate, sensible growth. This is a flexible, a living document that plans for the future and responds to new opportunities. Our Master Plan proposes adjustments in traffic flow around campus, as well more on-campus parking. Along with the Residences at Rex, we also will shortly begin construction of a new parking lot west of the Neilsen Library on First Street, and the first phase of housing renovation in Coronado Hall. We hope to create a more pedestrian friendly campus that enhances student life by closing Stadium Drive between First St. and Sunset. This will permit development of a campus green, a pedestrian walkway, and additional parking.

Adams State looks forward to a continued partnership with our neighbors and the City of Alamosa as we build the future.