The future of the school dominated the discussion at the fifth ASCSM meeting of the semester. Chris Cocallas, Director of Capital Planning and Construction, and John Bristow, Parlimentarian of ASCSM, brought issues fundamental to the school to the attention of the ASCSM Senate. ASCSM also passed a resolution pertaining to crosswalks.
“I want to show what’s going on with the campus in the long run,” Cocallas said, beginning his presentation. Starting with a map showing all the land the campus owns and one of what Cocallas and the administration believe to be the “maximum build-out,” Cocallas stated, “If we build everything here, it would far exceed our needs today.” Cocallas then talked about many of the specific building projects that the campus hopes to push within the next few years.
The most obvious is the current expansion to the Brown Building and the residence hall that is going next to it. These are proceeding as planned and once the Brown expansion is finished, the area in front of Brown and the Student Recreation Center will be converted to a pedestrian plaza. “We want to remove parking and remove the cars off of campus so that you will not be able to drive anymore in that area. It will be all pedestrian- and bicycle-oriented.” Much of the rest of campus is also expected to be converted to pedestrian-only, but that is many years off. Note that to help this along, four parking garages are planned around the perimeter of campus.
Because of this, there is at least one more residence hall planned in the next few years to help bring the number of undergraduates living on campus to 60%, which translates into about 2300 people. Because of this increase, a new dining hall would also be planned, with the Slate being converted into something resembling a food court.
Another building for student life is the Student Wellness Center, currently proposed for the parking lot at Elm and West Campus Road, next to the fraternities. This would house not only the clinic, but counseling, too.
In terms of academics, the Green Center is set to be evaluated for replacement in the next five to six years because of concerns about the roof. “We think we could get maybe five or six more years [out of the roof] and then when that fails that’s probably going to trigger the replacement of the building.” Marquez hall is also set to begin construction in February, which includes a wing that would be open classroom space for the whole campus. Doing so would free up space in Alderson, which, depending on the timeline of the Green Center replacement and availability of space on campus, could be taken up by the geophysics department until a new building is built. Meyer Hall was also stated as “real bad,” although there was no mention of a replacement.
Two buildings, much like the General Research Laboratory, are planned. The Earth Energy Institute is supposed to be built on the lot of the old Hall of Justice and is intended as a collaboration between multiple departments to further Mines’ motto of “Earth Energy Environment.” The CSM Research Institute is also planned, with the intent of being very much like the GRL.
After Cocallas’ presentation, Bristow brought up the school’s views on proposed amendments 60, 61, 63, and 101. “The school as an entity stands opposed” to 60, 61, and 101. All three of these, while under the guise of reducing taxes, would render the state incapable of funding anything except K-12 education in the coming years and would force the school to raise tuition by a severe margin. This would also render the school incapable of borrowing to fund construction projects.
When asked about whether the school could go private, Bristow responded, “The school would need to purchase all of the buildings on campus,” which would cost significantly more than the school has. Graduate Student Association Academic Chair Erich Hoover added, “We would actually need to amend the state’s constitution, since we are in it.”
The final amendment, 63, is a health care choice amendment. It makes it so that the state cannot require people to have health insurance. “While it doesn’t appear to affect Mines, it would because of the student health insurance plan,” said Bristow. It could be bad for the school because of the cost of providing health care when not everyone is required to have health insurance.