Standard 8: Physical Facilities
The past decade has brought major changes to the physical facilities of Keene State College, collectively creating an attractive, functional, educational and living environment through the formulation and systematic implementation of a detailed Master Plan. The Board of Trustees accepted the Campus Master Plan in January 1993.
The Keene State campus consists of seventy-five buildings located on eighty acres in downtown Keene, New Hampshire. Ninety acres south of the main campus have been developed for inter-collegiate, intramural and physical education programs. The College also owns buildings on Wilson Pond, known as the College camp, which is approximately three miles from campus. The College holds in trust a four hundred acre, mile-and-a-half long peninsula located between Lakes Spoonwood and Nubanusit in the towns of Nelson and Hancock, New Hampshire, known as the Louis Cabot Preserve of the Nature Conservancy.
The campus of past decades reflected the organic growth of the College from its beginnings on Main Street. Through the 1960s and 1970s a series of academic buildings were constructed along Appian Way with residence halls to the west. In addition, the campus acquired and occupied a number of surrounding properties including a series of small residences used for administrative functions, classrooms and student housing. The Campus Master Plan has re-organized the campus, focusing on developing facilities along the east/west axis of Appian Way and reducing the number of mini-houses. The eastern end of this axis encompasses the academic and administrative centers of the campus as well as the library and the original residence halls. The western end of this axis contains the student center, gymnasium, dining commons, art gallery, and arts center. Appian Way culminates in the newer residence facilities. In addition a series of quadrangles and pedestrian walkways have been developed linking the academic, residence halls, parking and outdoor areas of the campus. The most important of these are the North-South Pedestrian Way and the River Edge Recreation Path. The result of these changes is a unified, functional, and aesthetically pleasing central campus. All these changes have supported and enhanced Keene State College's ability to perform its mission.
Planning of major capital improvements begins with the Campus Master Plan, which is reviewed and updated on a five-year cycle. The College Facilities Planning Advisory Committee reviews the short-and long-term facility needs of the campus. The president and principal administrators then determine the campus priorities consistent with the guidelines of the University System of New Hampshire. These priorities are then submitted through the USNH Facilities Planning Council to the USNH Administrative Board. The Board then recommends system-wide biennial and six-year capital project lists to the Financial Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees. The board-approved requests are submitted to the comptroller of the state of New Hampshire for consideration by the governor for inclusion in the governor's capital budget. The USNH capital budget priorities list is reviewed, revised, prioritized and recommended every two years. The College makes its recommendations in the odd-numbered years. The governor and legislature act in the subsequent year and all approved funding is available in the following two-year biennium.
The Facilities Planning Advisory Committee, composed of administrators, faculty and physical plant personnel, serves in an advisory role on campus for all major renovations and remodeling. Sub-committees include constituencies who will ultimately occupy and use a facility. Recommendations relative to equipment and furnishing are forwarded to the Vice President for Finance and Planning for inclusion in the project's bidding specifications.
In the last decade, Keene State College has received $14 million in state funding for new and renovation construction. The trustees' goal is to increase the annual budget for renovation and repair to the NACUBO guidelines of 2-4% of replacement value of the facilities. While the renovation and repair budget has increased significantly, the objective has yet to be met, and deferred maintenance is a major concern on campus. In addition to recurring maintenance and health and safety code implementation, renovation and repair moneys have been used for infrastructure and instructional improvements such as renovation of classrooms, pedestrian walkways, and drainage of athletic fields. Renovation and repair funds have also been used to supplement capital funded projects, broadening the scope to incorporate abutting spaces.
There are twelve academic buildings at Keene State College used by three academic divisions with some overlap. All classrooms and faculty offices have been wired for data connectivity.
Morrison Hall is a primary classroom building; it also houses the History and Modern Language departments and the language laboratory. Both the offices and some of the classrooms in this building have been renovated over the past decade. Improvements include carpeting, soundproofing, new moveable classroom furniture conducive to forming groups, and air-conditioning in faculty offices.
Parker Hall houses the Dean of Arts and Humanities as well as the faculties of Film, Philosophy and English. Butterfield Hall and the Adams Technology Building contain Industrial Technology and Graphic Design and their classrooms, while Blake House contains Management, and Joslin House houses the Health Sciences and Women's Studies.
Rhodes Hall is the newest academic facility on campus. The building consists of a renovated historic wing and a newly constructed addition with a combined cost of eight million dollars. Rhodes contains state-of-the-art classrooms, seminar and meeting rooms, and computer laboratories. It houses the social sciences faculty, the Dean of Professional Studies, teacher education, the general-access computer labs and Campus Technology Services. Its handsome light-filled atrium echoes the design of the Student Center at the opposite end of Appian Way.
The Science Center houses the Dean of Sciences and the natural sciences faculty, laboratories, and classrooms. This building is of 1960s vintage; an addition increasing laboratory space was opened in 1986. Planning has been completed for an $18 million renovation and expansion project. Mathematics is located in a neighboring building at 88 Winchester Street. Acquired in 1996, this facility has been renovated using operating budget renovation and repair funding.
Spaulding Gymnasium, built in1969, is the main physical education, recreation, and fitness facility on campus. Its renovation has been planned but not yet implemented.
The Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond, completed in 1979, houses the faculty in the arts, painting, ceramic, and sculpture studios, classrooms, two theaters, a recital hall and a movie theater. The Master Plan envisions future expansions of this facility.
Administrative facilities consist of five buildings. Hale Building contains offices of the president and two vice-presidents. Elliot Hall and Fiske Annex are the primary administrative buildings, while Mason Library and the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery complete the academic and administrative facilities. Mason Library is currently undergoing phase one of a $4 million renovation and expansion. The Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery is a new facility constructed in 1994 at a cost of $2 million. Elliot Hall is also in a period of phased renovation.
The new Lloyd P.Young Student Center was built at a cost of $10.3 million and dedicated in 1995. It houses the Vice President for Student Affairs, the bookstore, a cafeteria, a cafe, student administrative offices, the student radio station and newspaper, mail services, student mail boxes, meeting rooms, and the Mabel Brown multi-purpose room. Across from the Student Center, the Zorn Dining Commons has also been recently renovated at a cost of $1.2 million.
During the past ten years, housing has changed as the result of the decommissioning of fifteen mini-houses which contained 150 spaces, and the addition of Holloway Hall and Pondside residences. The College has established a renovation and repair plan that ensures regular painting and replacement of worn furniture and carpets in residences. In 1999 the renovation of these areas cost $468,000. The student occupancy rate for 1999-2000 was around 98%. The College has not had to deny housing to any current resident and is able to house all first-time students who request on-campus housing and pay a deposit on time. However, we are unable to guarantee on-campus housing to our approximately two hundred transfer students. Their profile closely resembles that of first-year students, indicating that they would also benefit from living on campus. The quality of the College's housing is good, but it does not include a large stock of single bedroom and kitchen units that would be attractive to upper classmen who presently tend to move off campus. We have 520,658 gross square feet of assigned residential hall space. The residence halls and their capacity are as follows: Holloway, 256; Carle, 307; Fiske, 99; Huntress, 156; Monadnock, 128; Owl's Nest, 439; Pondside, 105; Randall, 259; mini-houses, 75; Bushnell Apartments, 100; and the Ruth and Mac Keddy House, 36; for a total of 1,960 beds.
The new and renovated portions of the campus have been integrated by the Appian Way project and the development of the Fiske-Huntress Quad. These projects have been accomplished with $400,000 of campus operating budget renovation and repair funds and $500,000 of state capital funding. Appian Way has been capped by a new gateway on Main Street supported by $250,000 of external donations. This handsome brick and granite arch frames the entrance to campus and bears the College motto: "Enter to learn, go forth to serve." North of the campus, resident student parking increased with the new Madison Street parking area at a cost of $400,000. This new lot has created parking spots close to the campus and has opened the campus onto Winchester Street. South of the campus Wyman Way has been improved by new paving and traffic flow pattern, pedestrian walkways, and new lighting at a total cost of $400,000. Further down Winchester Street are five hundred new parking spaces within ten minutes' walk of the central campus. A free shuttle service carries students from the Winchester Street lot to campus weekdays from 7am to 7pm and Sundays from 4pm to midnight.
The last ten years have seen a major transformation of the campus in terms of handicapped access and safety, consistently emphasized in our renovation and repair projects. Physical barriers have been largely eliminated. An elevator for Morrison Hall is on the current renovation and repair list. Campus security has been enhanced through a system of security call boxes, the addition of 130 light poles, and a 911 call tracing system. Regarding environmental hazards, the campus has undergone a systematic inspection of its facilities, and a new planning effort has been implemented to bring it into compliance with EPA guidelines. All facilities are constructed to applicable building codes and renovated to current standards. The College responds annually to inspections and recommendations of the State Fire Marshall.
The Physical Plant's staff of forty oversees the maintenance and operations of campus buildings and grounds. Since 1993 nearly all the staff has been replaced with administrative and professional staff who hold appropriate terminal degrees in technical disciplines, and most have previous experience in higher education. Operating staff also have licenses and certificates in their respective fields. The department does utilize ancillary (temporary non-benefited) and student workers to a significant degree. This department undertakes renovation projects on campus with values up to $200,000. It also oversees occupational and environmental compliance and the solid waste recycling program. The physical plant occupies a total of 37,689 square feet in the following facilities: the heating plant, 86 Appleton Street, the greenhouse, a surplus equipment facility at 322 Winchester Street, the Whitcomb Building, the Hazmat Building, and the R.O.C.K.S (Recycling on Campus at Keene State) shed.
In-house grounds, trades maintenance and construction work are supplemented by forty specialized services contracts, an efficient and cost-effective way to handle routine and emergency maintenance needs. Housekeeping and custodial services are also contracted on a five-year cycle. Contracted custodial staff consists of fifty-one full time cleaners.
After the possibility of creating a green campus was raised at "Speak Out!" in 1996, the College created an arboretum and gardens to beautify the campus, increase awareness of plant diversity, and educate the public. A brochure guides visitors through the central campus, describing its landscape history and identifying ornamental trees and shrubs.
The last decade has transformed the Keene State campus. In particular, the new Young Student Center, the Appian Way and Gateway projects, the conversion of Rhodes Hall to academic space, the expansion of Mason Library, and the renovation of Elliot and Morrison Halls have revitalized the campus core. The College has also made great improvements in technology, security, handicapped access, and environmental issues across the campus. We receive many favorable reports from the Keene community, students, faculty, prospective students, their parents and alumni. The College grounds crew designs attractive plantings for all seasons, and the arboretum project draws attention to their achievements. The beauty of the campus, particularly during fall foliage season and at Commencement when our lilacs bloom, brings us a harvest of compliments. The campus can be fairly said to be a showplace for the city of Keene and the Monadnock region.
The College's visible outward successes are achieved through Yankee ingenuity, scrimping, and saving, as we strive to continue the Campus Master Plan despite the limited state funding available. The very lean budgets for state capital projects produced by the New Hampshire legislature hinder the College in achieving its goals for its facilities and physical plant. Projects are delayed year after year or completed in a series of phases, pushing back other projects in the Plan. This problem is compounded by the fact that across the campus many buildings (e. g. the Science Center and Spaulding Gymnasium) are reaching or have reached the end of their thirty-year cycle of use and need major renovation. The 1960s Science Center is today far below current standards, and its natural science facilities are inadequate.
Shortcomings in physical facilities resulting from inadequate state funding impede actualizing our mission statement that we value "an attractive and functional campus environment." Half our academic space is over thirty years old and has received no renovation. The 25% increase in the size of the student body since 1988 has not been matched by a corresponding increase in academic space. While traditional classroom spaces have been upgraded, forty-seat classrooms are in short supply. We have too few specialized classrooms in all three academic divisions and some of those we have need renovation. The increase in the size of the student body has also impacted Spaulding Gymnasium's ability to meet the needs of the campus community. Indoor physical education, recreation and fitness facilities are also severely limited. The Redfern Arts Center is also in need of a major renovation and expansion to meet student needs.
The present residence halls fail to attract juniors and seniors, who tend to move off campus, creating housing pressure in the surrounding community. We also need to accommodate transfer students and integrate them into campus life. The lack of seating capacity in the Zorn Dining Commons causes overcrowding, particularly acute at lunchtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The current renovation and repair budget, while below national standards, would be adequate if it could be focused on a normal five-year cycle of maintenance projects. Instead, the College is attempting to patch older structures using renovation and repair funding, which then draws funds away from systematic renovation and normal maintenance of facilities. Portions of the campus's central heating plant are well over their replacement cycle and need immediate attention.
A prime example of our present problems is the Mason Library project. The Library is undergoing a major renovation funded by the state. However, the renovation was phased, and the College supplied internal funds to complete the first phase. These funds had been earmarked for replacing part of the heating plant. Furthermore, phasing the Library project pushed back any possible funding of the Science Center renovation. The failure to fund Master Plan projects in a timely fashion impacts the education opportunities of New Hampshire's students.
While we have highlighted our problems in this section, any tour of the campus, discussion with students, faculty or the community members will indicate a well-run facility and a general sense of progress. The campus feels proud of its accomplishments, but will require additional support to meet program needs.
Facilities development at Keene State College continues to be guided by the campus Master Plan. The next decade will involve improvements designed to complete Phase I of the Plan, which envisions a total student FTE enrollment of 4000. The major limitations on the completion of Phase I are the state budget for capital projects and the willingness of the University System of New Hampshire to sell NHHEFA bonds and increase long-term debt. A conservative estimate of Keene State's capital and bonded funded needs would be $60 million over the next decade.
Three major state capital projects have been approved by the USNH Trustees for the fiscal year 2002-2003 budget. Their second priority is Mason Library Phase II involving a renovation to the east wing at an estimated cost of $4.6 million. Fifth priority is the Keene State heating plant. Of the $5 million required, $2.5 is being sought from the state to construct a satellite plant supplementing the current heating plant, and adequately sized to support the eventual migration to the new site. The sixth priority in the trustees' budget is $1 million to fund the planning of the Science Center, whose renovation and expansion to meet current health and safety standards will cost $18-20 million. The proposed facility will support a teaching approach that integrates laboratory and classroom experiences, and increases opportunities to engage students in research with faculty. Science Center construction funds appear in the USNH six-year capital budget plan for the fiscal year 2004-2005 biennium.
Two major bonded projects are slated for NHHEFA funding. Planning is underway for a recreation center, where three multi-purpose courts will accommodate intramural team sports and walk-in activities. A fitness/wellness center is included in the plan along with improvements for handicapped accessibility. The project construction costs are projected at $10.5 million. Pondside II, a new residence complex to be located south of Brickyard Pond on Appleton Street, will be designed to address the needs of juniors and seniors. The facility will consist of two-story townhouses with 136 beds in thirty-four living units distributed over five acres at a cost of $6.5 million.
Four projects are slated for campus funding. Redfern Arts Center will be renovated and expanded at a cost of around $500,000 to meet health and safety needs and to improve specialized classrooms. Elliot Hall renovations on the first floor will create improved walk-up services for students and will more clearly separate services from processing areas. The lower level will need renovation for the Child Development Center at a cost of $1.2 million. Mechanical system improvements are needed as well. Classrooms on the second floor of Morrison Hall, a facility heavily used in the summer, will need a new HVAC system. An ADA compliant elevator will be added to access the second floor. Dining Commons expansion is needed to address prime-time demand and provide students with a greater range of serving options.
A variety of infrastructure improvements are needed to complete Phase I of the Master Plan. Steam lines need to be upgraded to deal with the new demands on the heating plant resulting from the Science Center renovation and the recreation facility. As a means of offsetting new operating costs of facility additions, the College needs to develop energy savings plans that can be implemented in conjunction with other renovation and expansion projects. Both electrical and computer wiring systems will need expansion. Many classrooms will need to be retrofitted to make better use of technology. The Office of Campus Safety will need renovation. The projects cited above will shift the number and location of parking spots on campus. These changes, combined with a loss of parking spots due to state highway improvements, will create the need for additional campus parking.
The consensus of the campus community is that these projects are critical to the College's mission in order to meet present pressing needs. Shifting academic program enrollment may necessitate additional study of the facility needs in programs such as Computer Science, Communication, Graphic Design, Art, Film, Theatre, Dance, and Music. Adding capacity in these programs, together with the previously projected renovations and expansions, lays the groundwork for an increase in enrollment to 4400 fall FTE students, proposed in Phase II of the Campus Master Plan, at which time additional facilities are recommended.