Plans for building renovations

Sasha Leibold, News Writer

The University of North Dakota was approved for state funding to renovate Babcock Hall, Gustafson Hall and Carnegie Hall. Babcock Hall is the University’s oldest academic building, it will become the home of the electrical engineering and the computer science department, Babcock Hall will also be the hub for data research on campus. Built in 1908, the 110 year-old building was designed by architect Joseph Bell DeRemer, who also built the President’s House at UND, as well as the State’s Capitol Building. The building is named after Earle Babcock, UND’s first engineering dean.

Gustafson Hall and Carnegie Hall are still currently being used but will be vacated in the next few years, Babcock Hall has been empty for about a year. Gustafson Hall was built in 1909, it was the original home of UND’s first fraternity. It has also served as different types of housing for the university.The building will likely return to some short-term housing, Gustafson could include some small apartments or even as rooms for visiting lectures and other guest. Carnegie Hall, was constructed in 1907, it served as the library for the university until 1928. It has also served as a dining center and offices. Carnegie Hall may house executive offices and meeting spaces, which would open up new spaces in Twamley Hall.

The three buildings will coincide with the demolition of UND’s steam plant, which is also located in the quad. The steam plant is scheduled to come down in the next few years. They hope to start the renovations by the Spring of 2021.

UND invests between $18 million and $36 million annually to maintain and upgrade campus buildings. If $8 million is invested annually, the equivalent of how much the university received for the fiscal year, the report states the facilities will continue to fall apart.

“Buildings may be empty but they will be heated so they don’t deteriorate, and very soon we have to start the conversation about what’s happening in the future” Former UND Interim President Ed Schafer said in an interview with the Grand Forks Herald.

Building condition was calculated by comparing the value of the building and comparing it to current repairs that are needed. Buildings at UND that aren’t funded by the state are housing, and athletic building need about $198 million for maintenance. Although, UND has no plans for the buildings that have already been torn down, UND says that it lends to the development that will help the student experience. Although UND has been approved for state funding they are also finding alternate ways to fund the money, referring to budget cuts. With the budget cuts they have the flexibility to invest in priority areas. UND believes that there is enough interest in the donor community to raise the dollars needed to renovate these buildings. There is a plan to address future plans, dorm rates may increase to start saving for the future renovations, they may also come from student technology fees and other reserve funds.