Mesa State starting classes with new projects, faculty, costs, amenities
Mesa State College students left campus in May with a science building under construction, a bookstore under a tented structure and a health sciences building still standing.
All that has changed.
Returning students beginning classes at the college today will notice Medesy Hall is gone, Wubben Hall and the Science Center are completely renovated, the College Center is nearing completion, and the new bookstore there is open.
Students also will see some classes that would have taken place in Houston Hall have been moved into the bookstore’s former location in the Maverick Pavilion while that hall is gutted. Elm Avenue Hall has some new dormitory rooms, and construction is progressing on a new residence in the southwest part of campus.
Construction has been an ongoing sight for many returning students, but things should quiet down this semester, according to Mesa State President Tim Foster.
“The war zone will be way reduced by Aug. 23 and nearly all reduced by October,” Foster said.
Students also will see more fellow classmates, as Foster predicts the college will see another year of double-digit growth, and new faces will appear in the faculty lineup. Some classes and concentrations have been added, and tuition is up to cover the cost of Houston renovations and college operations.
What’s being worked on
The renovation of Houston Hall began over the summer. The project, paid for with a 2 percent tuition increase, will include interior demolition and restoration to the building’s historic exterior.
The College Center is nearing completion and likely will open to students in October.
The bookstore was moved out of the Maverick Pavilion, but some classrooms were moved into the large, white structure temporarily located across the street from the Academic Classroom Building. The cafeteria and cafe inside the pavilion will move into the College Center after first semester ends. The pavilion will remain in place until it is moved next summer and is used for sports practices.
Construction has begun on a residence hall near Bunting Avenue on the west side of campus. The hall will house an estimated 288 students with room to expand to house 328 to 338 students, depending on how many beds are in a room.
Construction on Wubben Hall and the Science Center is complete. The project included retrofitting the building to be heated by a geothermal system, modernizing classrooms, adding space with an addition, and reorganizing the building’s layout.
Medesy Hall, which used to house health science classes, was demolished in early July.
The first floor of Elm Avenue Hall has been converted into a dormitory. The second floor was converted into housing last year.
The college bookstore is open in the College Center. It has an exterior entrance near the intersection of Elm Avenue and 12th Street.
Classes will begin this fall for students working toward the new bachelor of applied science degree in hospitality management. The program is for transfer students with an associate of applied science degree in hospitality management or a related field.
The college will begin offering a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering technology and offer managerial informatics and insurance concentrations in the bachelor of business administration as well as a law enforcement concentration for criminal justice bachelor’s students.
Students can begin this fall to earn an associate degree in water-quality management at Western Colorado Community College, plus a new certificate in public safety diving.
Mesa State expects another year of double-digit enrollment increases this fall.
Former Associated Student Government President Ryan Hendershot will serve as student trustee this year, replacing Adam Keen. Nick Lopez, formerly the ASG vice president, will replace Hendershot as president.
This is the first full year the college will operate under a new tobacco policy banishing smokers and tobacco chewers to areas at least 40 feet away from all campus buildings when they use tobacco.
Faculty and staff
Rick Taggart is new to campus this fall after serving as chief executive officer and president of Swiss Army Brand Inc. for nearly a decade. Taggart started work this month as acting executive director of marketing and student recruitment at Mesa State.
Tim Pinnow has replaced Richard Cowden as head of the theater department. Cowden’s wife, Jessica, who managed the box office in Moss Performing Arts Center and publicized college productions, also has left the college.
Former Grand Junction Police Chief Bill Gardner will begin teaching this fall at the college’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy.
This will be the first fall in more than 40 years that two longtime Mesa State English professors will not return for classes. Richard Berkey, who taught at the college for 43 years, and Robert Johnson, who taught at the college for 48 years, retired.