UND buildings in need of serious renovation

APPEAL Some UND facilities could use reconstruction.

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Caregie hall is one of many buildings on campus with beautifully designed exteriors but with severely antiquated interiors. File photo. 

A short time ago, the university began tearing down the old Ralph stadium in order to make room for a new, multimillion dollar sports and training complex.

The scale of the project is massive — the new complex will include a 300 meter, eight-lane track and in indoor football practice field. The new complex also will include a state-of-the-art training facility and sports medicine research facility. The design is breathtaking, and whenever the project is complete — if it’s during our lifetimes — it will compliment the newer Ralph arena and bring UND to a true Division I status.

This is a good move for UND, as our sports programs need a serious revamping. If we are to ever be truly competitive in all Division I sports, we need the facilities that attract the right athletes and keep them at the top of their games. As we stand right now, many of UND’s athletic programs appear to be falling behind many other schools in the race to perform at a higher level.

The new complex is something this school needs. However, it should not dwarf other needs that the campus is currently face.

I admit some bias when it comes to the music department, as I spend a large amount of time in the relatively ancient Hughes Fine Arts Center.

The music program has been working with a building that lacks the size and efficiency it needs. The Hughes is in desperate need of replacement with a new, modern facility that is actually designed for music students. At one point last year, many of the professors’ offices were evacuated so proper insulation could be added to the walls of the building. What building does not come with proper insulation in North Dakota?

That must be one of the dumbest architectural mistakes  ever made in this state.

At one time, the Hughes Fine Arts Center was having difficulty maintaining constant temperature and humidity levels for the instruments. There was real danger of wild temperature swings in the recital hall that could damage the more than $250,000 Bösendorfer piano, among other instruments.

Take a walk through the building and the impression that somewhere in the ceiling, asbestos is probably still making its home there along with some dead cats. There also are no windows in the hallways creating a cave-like atmosphere to the cinderblock walls and a music library that occasionally has an ant infestation problem.

The features of the Hughes building are not the main problem. The main problem with the Hughes Fine Arts Center is that is far too small. There are in excess of 100 music majors alone, not including art and other fine arts majors. The music side of the Hughes lacks enough practice rooms to accommodate everyday usage by the music students and there are not enough offices for faculty. There are multiple cases of faculty sharing an office with one or even two other colleagues.

If UND’s fine arts are to keep up with other state colleges and universities, the fine arts students and faculty need the proper facility to promote learning and attract more students to the programs.

Another hall that could use a good razing is Corwin-Larimore.

There is a special old-time atmosphere to the classic buildings like Corwin-Larimore. But let’s be honest, the hallway floors are warped and the classrooms are hilariously out of date. During my sophomore year, I ventured into Corwin-Larimore in the early morning hours and thought I was sure to come face-to-face with a poltergeist.

Corwin-Larimore, along with Merrifield, the Hughes Fine Arts Center, O’Kelly, Gillette, Twamley, Carnegie, Witmer and the infamous tunnels below the residence halls need serious renovations. Most of their exteriors are beautiful, it’s the insides that need work.

Whenever the money becomes available, UND needs a major renovation of many of the buildings on campus in order to maintain up-to-date facilities and keep students on par with other university students in America.

Adam Christianson is the managing/opinion editor of The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].

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