Romney Hall Renovation
Constructed in 1922 as MSU's original state-funded and physical education building, Romney Hall is now obsolete and in need of a complete renovation.
Romney Hall currently has four marginal classrooms with 140 classroom seats. Thousands of square feet in the building are unusable. Post-renovation Romney Hall will have 18 classrooms with more than 1,000 seats – this is a 13 percent increase (significant) to the campus’ classroom seat inventory. Those 1,000+ seats will be used at least nine hours a day, which means the building will be providing 9,000 to 10,000 classroom-seat hours for students per day, or more than 1 million classroom-seat hours per academic year.
A renovation of Romney Hall will improve programs that directly serve students by adding classrooms, a new veterans’ center, new disabilities services center, new writing and math centers and new student study rooms. MSU currently serves the largest number of Montana residents in its 123-year history, 10,122, from all 56 counties of the state.
For questions or comments, please contact Tracy Ellig, executive director of University Communications, at [email protected] or (406) 994-5607.
Romney Hall Renovation
The Need for Romney Hall
The renovation of Romney Hall will repurpose a 1922 nonfunctional gym into much needed instructional space — more than 1,000 classroom seats — that will benefit students that come to Montana State University from every corner of the state of Montana. Romney Hall’s renovation is focused on adding classrooms and space for three high-impact centers with a demonstrated record of helping students stay in school and graduate.
Record Student Enrollment
MSU is the largest, fastest growing university in Montana. It has grown 33 percent, or 4,102 students, in the past 10 years.
Veteran enrollment at MSU has grown 77 percent to an all-time high of 575 students. MSU’s current Veterans Center is a 750-square-foot room in the basement of the Strand Union Building. The center is so heavily used by veterans that at peak times many are turned away because of crowding.
Emphasis on Student Success and Graduation
MSU has one of the best freshman retention records and the highest graduation rate in the state of Montana. At MSU, we know that our job is not only to recruit students, but to help students stay in school and graduate.
The renovation of Romney Hall will offer students dedicated services for math, writing and veteran’s centers. The data clearly shows that these three centers help students improve their academic performance and graduate on time; the data also shows that these services have met and exceeded their capacity due to space constraints.
The MSU Math Learning Center has grown 19 percent in just the last three years. We know that success in math courses is a key factor in students staying in school and graduating on time. MSU’s Math Learning Center in Wilson Hall can’t meet the demand. For example, calculus review sessions are attracting 100 to 180 students in a room that has a seating capacity for 50 students.
The demand for the MSU Writing Center has grown 36 percent in the last three years. This fall demand grew so much the center extended its hours until 8:30 p.m. The center has no room to handle walk-in appointments or group sessions. Faculty have reported that students using the Writing Center score a full letter grade higher than their peers who did not use the center.
MSU has the least amount of gross square feet per student of any campus in Montana. While MSU Bozeman operates at 119 GSF/student, the Montana University System average is 180 GSF/student, or 33 percent more space than the Bozeman campus.
MSU has the highest classroom utilization rate in Montana and among the highest in the nation. Utilization averages in the 70 percent range and reaches highs of 87-88 percent during the week.
Romney Hall’s current classroom seat capacity is 140. Post renovation, the building would have more than 1,000 classroom seats.
Additional space for faculty and staff from the College of Education Health & Human Development who currently use Romney Hall is needed. To repurpose current space into more than 1,000 classroom seats means finding new space for faculty and staff who currently use the building: the renovation of Romney Hall would add space for Education, Health & Human Development and for ROTC storage in different locations on campus.
To address its growth, MSU has either raised from private donors or bonded itself more than $218 million in the past six years to address its needs for classrooms, residence halls and dining halls. None of these dollars came from Legislative appropriations.