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Construction at SMC will wait for funding

Laura Baumgartner | Friday, September 16, 2005

Following a nearly eight-year period of development that saw Saint Mary’s build a new dining hall, student center, on-campus apartments and other improvements, the College has halted all remaining construction on its Master Plan until it can raise more funding, officials said.

Saint Mary’s will not break ground on new projects – which range from a new classroom building and multi-purpose center to a second on-campus apartment complex – until 100 percent of costs are pledged and 75 percent are held in cash, said Laurie Stickelmaier, vice president for finance and administration.

“While we are happy with the results of the Master Plan, it certainly has taken more time than planned in the study to raise the money needed for the projects,” Stickelmaier said.

Approximately $20 million was raised and spent to build the student clubhouse, the welcome center, the Noble Family dining hall, the student center and to renovate Regina and McCandless residence halls, Stickelmaier said.

“The Master Plan process began in 1998 and involved input from all sectors of the campus community,” Stickelmaier said. “Needs for Saint Mary’s College were determined and means to meet those needs were proposed. Budgets were established and a final plan was written in late 1999.”

Stickelmaier said the goal of the improvements is to attract more prospective students and to bring Saint Mary’s into the 21st century.

“While we don’t have any empirical data that statistically proves new facilities have a positive impact on recruitment, there is general acceptance that these types of changes are an indication that the institution is moving forward as it strives for continual improvements,” Stickelmaier said. “We always felt that these facilities would support the admission process.”

A pamphlet distributed by the College highlights proposed changes, which range from a new classroom building and multi-purpose center to refurbishment of the residence halls. Other planned changes include the renovation and expansion of Angela Athletic Facility, an upgrade of the science hall and the eventual construction of a second on-campus apartment complex.

The next project tackled under the Master Plan will be construction of the new academic building slated to replace previous plans to renovate Madeleva Hall, the College’s current academic building.

“The work on the new academic building is currently in the design phase,” Stickelmaier said. “We hope to open the building for classes in fall of 2008.”

Stickelmaier said faculty, staff and students have been pleased with the changes that have taken place on campus.

“I believe the campus community has been very supportive of the plan,” she said.

Students like junior Eileen Boyce appreciate the many benefits of the new buildings on campus.

“I love having the student center to do homework in,” Boyce said. “I’m also looking forward to Opus apartments for next year. It will be exciting to see what else is changed in the future.”