Planning still in progress for new student center

by Shara Tibken

In order to break ground the college needs to raise funds.

Last year Simpson College announced plans for a new student union. This year, the college has been busy making plans for the center.

The first step in the building process was hiring an architectural firm. After much deliberating, the planning committee assembled by Simpson decided on WTW out of Pittsburgh, Pa.

According to Rich Ramos, the assistant dean of students, WTW “predominately deals with buildings on college campuses.”

WTW has designed student unions and other college facilities for over 50 universities across the United States, such as Penn State University.

According to Jim Thorius, the vice president for student development, WTW will also be working with a local architect company from Des Moines, Savage, Ver Ploeg & Associates, to complete the project.

Currently, the planning committee is working with the architects to develop ideas for the center.

“We are working with the architectural firm to do some preliminary designs,” said Thorius.

“We are at very preliminary stages with it-very initial designs. We are very, very far away from having blueprints,” said Ramos.

The date that Simpson plans to break ground for the new student center is undecided at this point.

“[The date that we start building] is contingent upon raising money,” said Thorus.

How does the college plan to secure enough money to begin building?

The college is still looking for a naming gift (donation) to help cover costs. This gift would have to amount to half of the total cost in order for the building to be named after the donor.

The exact cost of building the student union has not been determined, but according to Thorius, it is expected “to be in excess of $10 million.”

The new student center will be attached to the north side of Pfeiffer Dining Hall, in between Kresge and Barker Halls.

“The building will probably be three stories high, blend in with the architecture of Pfeiffer, Barker and Kresge, and be considerably larger than BSC,” said Thorius.

The actual construction process will take approximately nine months to one year to complete, according to Thorius.

“Not only will the building have to be constructed, there will also be remodeling inside of Pfeiffer,” he said.

The student center will allow Pfeiffer to expand and provide more space for other things, such as student organization meetings.

“The building will be much more user friendly [than BSC],” said Ramos. “It will be fairly multipurpose.”

The old student center will be used as an academic building upon the completion of the new student center.

Both Thorius and Ramos agree that the new student center should be a place for people to gather.

“It should be like a family room or the heart of campus,” said Ramos. “People should be comfortable there.”