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Amy Dalrymple, Published August 26 2009

NDSU starts school year with expanded downtown campus

North Dakota State University had a test on the first day of classes: how to get more than 2,500 students downtown.

The university passed by most measures but still faces a learning curve as a bigger influx of students arrives today.

Tuesday marked the first full day of classes for NDSU, and the first day Richard H. Barry Hall in downtown Fargo was fully operational.

Early Tuesday, 80 students were at the Memorial Union waiting for a bus, which can accommodate 60 people at capacity, said Jim Gilmour, Fargo’s planning director.

Officials brought in an extra bus that was on standby, and will continue to monitor the demand, he said.

By 2 p.m. Tuesday, a new bus route added to serve the new hall and neighboring Klai Hall provided 1,500 rides. Some may have taken the bus more than once. That’s more than double the ridership of NDSU’s existing downtown route, Gilmour said.

President Joseph Chapman said traffic downtown will “ramp up” even more today because more classes are scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Misi Fayemiwo, a graduate student in the College of Business, said it was easy for her to take a bus from the Memorial Union on the main campus to Richard H. Barry Hall.

She also lives close enough that she could walk when the weather is nice.

“I’m a little apprehensive about what’s going to happen in the winter, about missing buses,” said Fayemiwo, an international student from Nigeria.

Some work continues on the $23 million Barry Hall, but most is cosmetic and won’t affect classroom activities, said Tim Flakoll, director for operations for NDSU’s downtown facilities.

Michael Kerns, a senior majoring in business, said the new facility is a big improvement over Putnam Hall, which he called an “antiquated, small, hot building.”

“The new building is awesome,” said Kerns, of Chanhassen, Minn. “It’s really impressive visually.”

Some of the technology in the building hasn’t been fully installed, such as projectors in the classrooms.

Permanent bike racks won’t arrive until later this week, so on Tuesday officials brought in temporary ones, Flakoll said.

The parking lot between Barry and Klai halls and some landscaping work were delayed after some workers were exposed to a hazardous material. That area has now been excavated, and the work on the lot will proceed.

Matt Friesz, a fourth-year architecture student who already was taking classes downtown, said some of his friends who are business majors were apprehensive about moving downtown.

“I keep telling them, ‘Once you’re down here, you’ll love it,’ ” Friesz said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590