Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Kryzsko undergoes construction to meet space needs

Rebecca Mueller/Winonan

Construction in Kryzsko Commons is set to begin this September and is expected to be completed in mid-June; plans include increased space, remodeled restrooms and more accommodating, comfortable study spaces for students.

Student Union director Joe Reed has been planning this project for several years. With more students and less space, it is time to put plans in action. “This building is being stressed for space,” Reed said.

When construction is completed, Kryzsko Commons will gain over 12,000 square feet of space, including more conference rooms and meeting spaces, a new elevator, and two sets of new bathrooms. About 25 percent of the new space will be used by the bookstore, and the rest is space for student use.

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Enrollment at Winona State University has doubled since the building was first constructed in 1965, which means that more students want to use the same amount of space. Because of this, the staff is unable to accommodate all the room requests that the building receives.

“I’m thrilled that [Kryzsko is] expanding,” Hannah Nickelson, a senior at Winona State, said. Students will need the additional space for studying and club meetings.

The architecture firm Bentz/Thompson/Rietow, also known as BTR Architects, is heading the project. The same firm was involved in the construction of Winona State’s Darrell W. Kreuger Library and has been involved in other projects at multiple Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

The general contractor for the project is Alvin E. Benike, Inc., based in Rochester, Minn. The first pre-construction meeting with the contractor was held on Monday, Sept. 9.

Students have provided their input throughout the planning process as representatives attending meetings about the project. The Facebook page “BTR Architects + Kryzsko Commons Project” provided another place for students to voice their opinions.

BTR Architects gave a presentation to student leaders at the Association of Student Organizations meeting on Jan. 31, 2013. Members of the firm introduced the construction project and asked what students liked and disliked about the current study spaces, along with what students wanted to see in the new space.

The construction project will address a number of problems found around the building. Among these problems is a leaking patio connected to Baldwin Lounge which is causing water damage to the bookstore below. Additionally, the concrete ramp along the outer wall of Baldwin Lounge is crumbling and no longer meets accessibility code.

The project will also address several deferred maintenance projects, which involve updating systems throughout the building. The fire protection system will be updated in the Phase III portion of the building, and an improved HVAC system will be installed.

The lighting in Baldwin Lounge will be improved, and the existing set of bathrooms in that space will be remodeled. The bookstore will increase in size and gain display and storage space.

When the construction project is completed, the KEAP Diversity Center will move from its current location in Wabasha Hall to what is currently the Winonan Room in Kryzsko Commons.

The project will cost about $5 million total. Reed received a $2 million bond for the project, which will work like a mortgage. He has also been saving up money from a reserve account. The bookstore also contributed funds to the project since their space is included in the renovations.

The duration of construction does have set backs.

“I’m worried about the students who are being displaced, and will now be forced to fill the library, or worse, try to study in a place as hectic and confusing as the dorms,” Nickelson said. While Baldwin Lounge is unavailable, students will need to find other places to study.

The Purple Rooms next to Baldwin Lounge will also be unavailable during the spring semester. The bookstore will be closed down for part of the time, but a makeshift bookstore will be set up in the Winonan Room in February.

Reed anticipates increased scheduling issues with remaining spaces in Kryzsko Commons during construction. He is considering extending hours in the Smaug to accommodate the students that prefer to study in the Commons area.

“This is a positive thing,” Reed said. He said he acknowledges that the year will be difficult for everyone who uses the building, but believes that the results will significantly improve the building for all.


Contact Rebecca at [email protected]

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