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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published April 08 2010

Mayville State undergoes major building changes

Mayville (N.D.) State University is getting a makeover.

The university of about 825 students will break ground today on its first state-funded building in 40 years.

The campus is also renovating its largest residence hall, recently finished a new coal plant and is demolishing outdated buildings.

Students are happy to see the changes, said student body president Ashley Roeske.

“Little Mayville is having all this stuff going on, and it’s really exciting and very attractive to prospective students,” said Roeske, a junior from Jamestown, N.D.

Today is the kickoff for the Science-Library renovation and addition, a nearly $5 million project that will involve a 14,000-square-foot addition as well as renovation of the Science and Library Buildings.

The addition will be home to the Division of Education and Psychology.

Roeske, an elementary education major, said the new facility will give students new opportunities, including access to advanced technology. Education is the university’s largest major.

President Gary Hagen said updating facilities is important not only for the safety of students, but also for student recruitment.

“We’ve had students come to visit our campus and they liked everything except the condition of the facilities,” Hagen said.

Work is under way on a $3.7 million renovation of Agassiz Hall to turn it from a traditional dormitory to a residence hall with apartments and suites. One wing will be ready for students in the fall.

The university completed a coal plant last winter that will alleviate campus dependence on No. 2 fuel oil, which has escalated in cost and contributed to a deficit.

Sen. Elroy Lindaas,

D-Mayville, said the upgrades are long overdue.

Mayville State recently had the highest percentage of delayed maintenance projects in the North Dakota University System.

“We’ve felt rather neglected,” Lindaas said. “The larger universities, they have many new structures on a continuing basis, and that’s fine, but we shouldn’t be overlooking the smaller universities either.”

Some residents are sad to see the older buildings torn down, but they understand it’s not feasible to renovate them, Lindaas said. East Hall, a 92-year-old dormitory, was demolished this year, and West Hall will be taken down when the new addition is complete.

Steve Bensen, Mayville State’s vice president for business affairs, said the changes are reinvigorating the campus and the community.

“We can tolerate the inconvenience when you look forward to the results,” Bensen said. “It’s a time of excitement around here.”

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