Montana State University

Mountains and Minds

Building excellence at MSU October 13, 2010 • Published 10/13/10

In addition to the new Animal Bioscience Building and the complete renovation of Gaines Hall, two more beloved MSU buildings either have been renovated or will be soon. Here's what is planned for them.
Cooley Laboratory

Over the next two years, MSU will upgrade the 50-year-old Cooley Laboratory into a cutting-edge facility for faculty and students researching everything from treatments for infectious diseases to safeguards against bioterrorist attacks.

The renovation will help advance one of the university's strengths--biomedical research--and will do it in a sustainable way by meeting LEED standards. It will be the second building on campus to apply for the environmentally responsible certification. The first was Gaines Hall.

A $15 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will fund most of the $17 million building renovation. The NIH funds are stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The rest of the money will come from a State Board of Investments InterCap loan.

"We will train a lot of students in that building," said Paula Lutz, dean of the College of Letters and Sciences and principal investigator on the NIH grant application. Lutz noted the close connection between research and instruction at MSU, as well as the strong connections between faculty members and undergraduates.

Tom McCoy, MSU vice president of research, said he believes the renovated laboratory space will likely spur a burst of new research for students and faculty.

"We have ample evidence that when we provide modern, quality laboratory space, great success follows for our students and faculty," McCoy said.

Hamilton Hall

Historic 100-year-old Hamilton Hall, once a residence hall for women, was slowly sinking into the ground before its recent $4.3 million renovation.

Thanks to reinforced foundations and steel structures on the first two floors, "It's going to be good for another hundred years," said Debbie Drews, project manager for MSU Facilities, Planning, Design and Construction.

The top of the building had problems, too. Ice was forming on the roof and walls, causing damage to the structure, but new gutters and downpipes have remedied that.

The four-story building received all new windows, an American Disabilities Act-compliant elevator and new bathrooms on the first two floors. The main, north entrance was restored to its original design and the exterior brickwork was cleaned and restored.

"It was a historic renovation, so all the architectural details meet that criterion," Drews said.

Gallatin College Programs, MSU's new two-year program, moved from Culbertson Hall to the first two floors of Hamilton Hall.

"This gives us more space and access for our students," said Bob Hietala, dean of Gallatin College Programs. "In addition to having outgrown our old space, we wanted to prepare for the growth we see in two-year education."

MSU's GCP has classrooms, office space and student services, including a tutoring lab. Students can also use the new design drafting/computer lab.

"We are so impressed with the work they did," Hietala said. "We are thrilled to have the space and resources for our students."

MSU's GCP offers degrees in aviation, design drafting, interior design, welding technology and developmental education courses in math and English to prepare students for college level courses.

MSU ROTC remains on the top two floors of Hamilton Hall and Human Resources/Affirmative Action and Internal Audit share the first floor with MSU's GCP.

The renovation was funded in part by state code deferred maintenance funds and building stabilization funds (monies that are set aside by the state for necessary maintenance and renovation works). MSU maintenance dollars, Facilities Services maintenance budget and departmental budgets also helped fund the project.