Renovations across campus improve learning environment

Jenny Rohl/TheNews

Story by Lindsey Coleman, Staff writer

David Burdette, interim chief facilities officer, said past and current renovation plans for Faculty Hall, the Curris Center, Wilson Hall, Alexander Hall, Wells Hall and Wrather West Kentucky Museum are important for the student-learning environment on campus.

In the past two years, the lobby, paint, blinds, ceiling tiles, windows and desks have been updated in Faculty Hall.

“Classrooms now have a decidedly new, fresh appearance,” Burdette said. “I’ve often said for years if faculty and students can concentrate on learning and the learning environment and not worry about the things inside a classroom, it just makes learning so much easier.”

Megan Epperson, junior from Greenville, Kentucky, said she appreciates the renovation efforts.

“I believe that an update in appearance and equipment will not only aid current students and faculty members in their educational endeavors, but encourage prospective students to consider Murray State as well,” Epperson said. “Faculty Hall has improved a great deal since I started at Murray State, and I’m very happy with the progress that is underway.”

With help from Student Affairs, Burdette said they’ve spent time bringing the Curris Center up to date, which included new sliding doors to make heating and cooling more efficient. He said they plan to install the sliding doors in Faculty Hall as well.

Burdette said Facilities Management is constantly replacing ceiling tiles in Wilson, and they have also put in new carpet and tile on the first floor of the building.

Anthony Caturano, senior from Paducah, Kentucky, said he recently noticed the new carpeting and paint in Wilson Hall, which he said made the building look nicer and smell better.

“It is a really old building, and I’m glad they renovated, because it’s going to be more inviting to students,” Caturano said. “It modernizes it without losing its historical value and traditional feel.”

Burdette said they will be looking into solving heating and air issues in Alexander Hall.

“From a facilities perspective, we want to invest as we can in every building on campus,” Burdette said.

He said energy-saving window projects are in place for Wells Hall and Wilson Hall over the next 12-18 months, and the functionality of Wrather West Kentucky Museum is being discussed.

“What I think you see at Murray State is a combination of supporting and welcoming the new, celebrating our past, but knowing we have to invest in our older buildings,” Burdette said.

He said Murray State is in an evolutionary phase of new capital construction, which includes the new engineering and physics building, New Franklin Residential College and Breathitt Veterinary Center.

Kathy Friebel, administrative assistant for Facilities Management, said a new Breathitt Veterinary Center is being constructed in Hopkinsville to replace the smaller, outdated building currently in use.

The overall capital construction budget is more than $100 million.

“It’s a wonderful investment in the future of Murray State. At the same time, we have older buildings. We started here in 1922. We’re coming up on 100 years,” Burdette said. “You try to invest in the older, even as you build new.”

For deferred maintenance projects, Burdette said Facilities Management addresses issues that may have been deferred in the past, like dealing with heat pumps, air pressure machines and electrical needs. Through university leadership, they receive about $1 million a year to fund specific deferred maintenance issues.

However, Burdette said they’re still in the process of allocating the $1 million for deferred maintenance projects.

“A lot of what we’re doing behind the scenes, while not exciting, is extremely important,” Burdette said. “We’re investing in the physical plan of the campus.”