A few weeks ago, chain link fences started going up on the southwest side of campus, then a construction crew set up shop in the Minne parking lot, and just the other day an excavator was tearing up the grass around Baldwin Lounge. I had no idea what was going on, but I heard whispers that they were renovating Kryzsko Commons and Baldwin Lounge, a rumor that was confirmed in a WSU Update email.

It seems that most of us students (unless you’re like my roommate who happened to catch this article in the Winona Daily News) are unaware of the details of this plan so I did a little digging of my own to unearth the answers to the questions you are probably asking.

What are the planned renovations?

  • A 7,300-square-foot addition on two levels will be built along the east side of the building that will serves as a student lounge with access to a new outdoor patio.
  • The current building will be renovated to make create a more accessible entryway and a new elevator will be installed.
  • Baldwin Lounge will also be outfitted with new light fixtures and a new ventilation system among other interior renovations.

Why are they renovating Kryzsko Commons?

  • According to student union director Joe Reed, Kryzsko Commons hasn’t had any major renovations to that part of the building since the 1970s, even though the student enrollment has more than doubled. The additions will create more space for students to study and hold group meetings in Baldwin Lounge and also expand the bookstore and Winona Room below.

How much does it cost and how did they get the money?

  • The total cost for the project is around $4.9 million. The funds were gathered through bonds, WSU bookstore reserves and student fees.

When will it be finished?

  • The projected completion date is July 2014. In the meantime, Baldwin Lounge has been closed and the Purple Rooms will close in spring semester.

So there you have it; you now know what is going on beyond those fences and tell your friends, too. I think that it is important to share this information because it affects us students most. We are the ones who have to change our walking routes to class and find different study rooms but we are also the ones who will benefit from the all the additional space. I like the quiet of Baldwin Lounge to study between classes but I rarely spend time there because the tables are always full. So I am definitely looking forward to the transformation!

For updates on Kryzsko’s progress and construction photos, check the Kryzsko project website.