Van Deusen up for renovation

Kathie Zipp

WATCH a video showing some of Van Deusen’s outdated elements.

Van Deusen Hall, which hasn’t had been renovated since it was built in 1951, may finally be getting its facelift.

Michael Bruder, director of design and construction of the Office of the University Architect, said the university is studying the current and long-term needs of the college.

“The college is growing,” he said. “We’re going to need more space. We’re looking into updating facilities, expanding programs and increasing sustainability.”

Bruder said at the very least, the college will need some sprucing up. The building has no central air and still has the original light fixtures.

T.J. Thompson, junior aviation major, agrees that Van Deusen could use some work.

“It definitely needs some updating,” he said. “For being the College of Technology, it probably has some of the worst technology on campus.”

As the house for the College of Technology, Van Deusen includes the aeronautics, applied business and applied science programs.

Verna Fitzsimmons, interim dean for the college, said she’d like to see some improvements that promote efficiency as well. Some of the things she suggested were replacing the original aluminum frame windows, plumbing and electric systems.

“It’s a lot of old stuff,” she said. “I’d like everything to be more ‘green’ and easily maintained.”

Another example she mentioned is energy-saving light sensors, which monitor the amount of natural light in the room and adjust accordingly.

Fitzsimmons also noted the need for more graduate and faculty office space, as well as making the facility more “student-centric.”

“We need more classroom space, but also just simple things like benches in the hallways, somewhere for students to hang out,” she said.

Thompson agreed the college needs some basic improvements.

“Rooms need paint, and basically the whole building is not so good on the inside,” he said. “Computers in the labs are old, and so is the equipment in the wood and metal shops.”

Part of the study Bruder is working on is to decide whether the building is even salvageable, or if a new facility is needed. He said it would be several more months before a path is decided. Right now, the university is still in the process of looking for an architect.

Fitzsimmons said her main concern is that the college has what it needs to succeed.

“I want to have the facilities we need now and for the future, to have what we need to get jobs done best,” she said.

Contact science and technology reporter Kathie Zipp at [email protected].