MITZEL: Strengthening foundations for a bright and stable future
Members of Dickinson State Teachers College first graduating class were awarded degrees on July 29, 1920. Within a year from that date, the physical foundations of Dickinson State had just begun to take shape. Inside May Hall is shown a picture of the 1921 graduating class posing in front of the newly constructed Stickney Hall. Since 1921, the footprint of the campus has grown, changed, and has been tailored to optimize our student experiences and education. As our excitement about the upcoming DSU Centennial Celebration grows, we are once again busy in our work across campus to update and improve our physical facilities. These efforts will ensure that new students entering our Blue Hawk family are in an environment that continues to be safe, nurturing and invigorating.
Throughout the years, our commitment to putting students first has not changed. The DSU buildings reflect this mission, and we should be proud of our physical surroundings, the sense of history they bring forward, and the sense of promise they foretell. Historic buildings, however majestic they may appear, create unique problems that must be addressed. Many of the buildings on the DSU campus have not been updated since the 1950s, and no longer serve our campus family in the manner they should. As such, we will be modernizing many of our structures to address life safety issues and deferred maintenance. You may already have noticed construction vehicles outside. Here are a few of the projects underway or in the works:
Woods Hall: Renovation to this residence hall results in interior and exterior elements that are compatible with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for accessible design. Renovation also adds dormitory rooms with full ADA accessibility for our students, helping to ensure everyone who wishes to pursue higher education at DSU will have the opportunity to fully embrace, and participate within, the campus culture.
May Hall: Construction on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system has also begun. The HVAC system is over 30-years in age. Repairs are required often, and temperatures can fluctuate significantly during the course of a workday. This renovation and update will be loud and messy, but is necessary to ensure that our centerpiece building remains viable moving into the 21st century.
DeLong Hall: This residence hall will receive badly needed updates to its elevator. In addition, a fire suppression system is being added to help protect the structure and all who dwell within. For the past two years, DSU has been recognized as the safest campus in North Dakota. These facility upgrades are needed to make sure we keep our campus safe and functioning as a top living and learning environment.
Community Spaces: Along with our physical improvements, we are always planning and updating our programming. As part of this process, DSU's University Store will be moved and updated. The store will be relocating to the front of the Student Center and will adopt a more modern platform for book orders and pickup while offering a wider variety of Blue Hawk apparel and merchandise. Food is a central part of connecting and building community in multiple ways. We are working to offer food service to our students 24 hours a day and to create a true destination, and gathering place, by incorporating a computer lab and a gaming area. Students spend about 25 percent of their time on campus in the actual classroom and we are working to create attractive spaces, with integrated programming, where they can connect with one another.
We invite you to visit the campus, to walk around, to take in the history, and to see the updates. If you cannot make the trip physically, you can visit our online tour and try to find some of the changes underway as we strengthen foundations for a bright and stable future.
You can also stay connected with plans for celebrating DSU's Centennial by visiting www.dickinsonstate.edu/centennial or www.facebook.com/dsu100. Thank you all for 100 years of guidance and insight and for your support as we continue to plan for a strong next 100 years!!!