The Indiana State University landscape is changing yet again, with ongoing construction of the $64 million addition/renovation project for the College of Health and Human Services.
It is the university’s largest ever state-funded project and quite visible to anyone traveling U.S. 41 north of Chestnut Street. The project will place Health and Human Services programs and faculty in an upgraded facility that will better serve current needs and future growth, officials say.
But that’s not the only construction work at ISU. “Our campus continues to evolve with around $128 million in construction projects currently underway,” says ISU President Dan Bradley. Another project is the $20.5 million renovation of Rhoads Hall, which began in May; it is the fourth and final phase of the Sycamore Towers project.
Cromwell Hall, the third Sycamore Towers residence hall to be renovated, is completed and ready for students to arrive next month, Bradley said.
Construction is one of the major factors driving the economic impact Indiana State has on the Wabash Valley’s economy, Bradley wrote in a campus email. A recent study by Thomas P. Miller and Associates found that ISU contributes $381.8 million to the local economy on an annual basis, which is associated with 4,693 jobs and $159.8 million in earnings.
Statewide, the university contributes $473.5 million to the economy each year, supporting 5,006 jobs with earnings of $194 million, the study said. “These numbers demonstrate the important role public higher education has as an economic driver” in the region, Bradley said.
As far as the high profile Health and Human Services construction project, the addition/renovation is necessary because the college’s programs in health-related fields “are really expanding and have been for quite some time,” said Bryan Duncan, ISU director of capital planning and improvements.
The college offers programs in nursing; applied health sciences; applied medicine and rehabilitation; kinesiology, recreation and sport; as well as social work. Graduates will become nurses, physician assistants, athletic trainers, physical therapists, health educators, dietitians, fitness trainers and more.
The college’s programs have been spread out in different buildings, Duncan said, and the addition/renovation will allow those programs to consolidate in one building. For example, the School of Nursing is now located on the east side of campus.
During the August 2016 ground-breaking, officials said the project would create an estimated 585 construction jobs for the Wabash Valley and address a critical need for classrooms and laboratories to support rapidly-growing health-related programs.
The college has about 3,500 students, including 750 graduate students, as well as about 154 faculty.
The project is being done in two phases. Phase 1, currently underway, will add 85,000 square feet for a four-story office and classroom addition. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, and it should be ready for classes in January, Duncan said.
Phase II will begin in early 2018 to renovate the northern end of the existing building, and that work is slated for completion in early 2019.
The project also will significantly expand the north gym, Duncan said. The existing north gym will close from January 2018 to August 2018. When completed, “We’ll be able to host track meets in there in the future and lots of other events that we couldn’t do before,” he said.
The addition’s main entryway facing U.S. 41 will feature a four-story glass atrium with plenty of lounge space; also, a two-story open walkway will run east-west across the building.
The addition will feature “a lot of glass, openness and interaction space for people,” Duncan said. The glass provides natural light into the building.
The project designer is Ratio Architects, and the contractor is Hannig Construction of Terre Haute.
As far as the Rhoads Hall project, the building will be totally gutted and renovated and cooling added to the building. Prior to the renovations, Sycamore Towers residence halls did not have air conditioning, which often brought student complaints in hot weather.
Changes to living areas include more meeting/study spaces and new restrooms. Student rooms will receive all new finishes and furniture. Lounge spaces with large windows on each floor will flood natural light inside. The large window wall also provides a new exterior facade for the building.
The project will be completed in July 2018, and it is being financed through long-term debt and cash reserves in the housing and dining system. The Sycamore Towers complex of four residence halls is between Fourth and Fifth streets and Chestnut and Cherry streets.
Other projects this summer have included new lighting at Memorial Stadium at a cost of about $500,000, Duncan said. Various buildings on campus are getting exterior masonry work done.
The Science Building has had all of its labs renovated, and now, the latest upgrades are to the building’s public corridors, with new finishes, lighting, ceilings, floorings and added lounge space where students can interact.