Romney renovation to preserve history, improve accessibility

Architects explained at two town-hall meetings about the Romney Gym renovation last Thursday that they want to make the building open and accessible while preserving its historic elements.

President Cruzado stated, “It should be a noisy building to enrich students’ lives.”

Romney Dance studio

A number of student organizations and clubs that use the gym now are pleased to see the current renovation plans would leave the dance studio in place. At a meeting in December about the renovations, some club members were outraged, as rumors had circulated that the large, open basketball court and dance studio on the third floor would be converted into office and/or classroom space.

MSU is asking for $20 million to cover the cost of the renovations. If the Montana Legislature agrees to provide funding, the design work for the renovation will begin in June of this year. The architects estimate that it would take 16-24 months to break ground.

Besides the structural upgrades required to bring the building up to code, the renovations are expected to engage students academically and in extracurricular activities.

After seeing the plans, town-hall attendees voiced their concerns about where classes, club and organization activities would be held during the interim while the building is under construction. Cruzado explained that the new business school may be completed in time to move certain classes to the new building, freeing up space in other buildings for classes that would otherwise be held in Romney.

For more information, contact Walter Banziger, director of Facilities, Planning, Design and Construction, at wbanziger@montana.edu, or Joseph Bleehash, project architect, at joseph.bleehash@montana.edu. You can also join the Romney Renovation Update Page on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/UB15N2.