Adams State: Valley centerpiece since 1925
The institution, now a university, has enjoyed huge changes recently
BY MATT HILDNER
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
May 22, 2014
ALAMOSA — When Adams State Normal School opened in 1925, one building was enough for its 42 students and three faculty members.
Since then, the school has ushered thousands of graduates into the workaday world, changed its name to Adams State University and, over the last seven years, spent $65 million on renovations and new construction.
Part of that spending — just under $17 million — is overhauling Richardson Hall, the 64,000-square-foot, red-brick building that housed the school’s first classes and stood alone on what was then the western edge of town.
“It’s a complete renovation,” said Tyler Read, the project manager for GH Phipps Construction.
Nearly 125 employees work in Richardson, which also is home to the president’s office, other administrative services and the Nursing Department.
All of that office space is being redone.
The heating system will see a renovation and insulation will be added to the ceilings and walls. And, for the first time, employees will enjoy air conditioning.
A third-floor attic that had historically been used as storage space now will house a meeting room for the school’s board of trustees.
The building’s auditorium, which sits right inside the main entrance, hasn’t been touched since its construction.
Read said it will have new seats and lighting by the time the remodeling is completed in March.
The auditorium entrance features crown molding, which work crews will preserve.
Likewise, the Luther Bean Museum, with its extensive woodwork and a mural, will be preserved, although the space also will have a new heating and ventilation system.
The building’s exterior will be largely unchanged to the casual eye, but crews will repair the masonry and clean the brickwork.
An old internal gutter system that had leaked water onto the face of the building caused instability in some of the building’s masonry work, forcing the temporary closure of two entrances in 2011.
The work on the building is being conducted in phases to allow partial occupation through the course of the renovations.
While much of the recent work at Adams State, such as the new football stadium, campus apartments and dormitory renovations, has been funded through a 2008 student fee hike, the work on Richardson comes courtesy of state funding.
Read estimated that roughly 75-100 workers are on the project, depending on the day. Local subcontractors include Alcon Construction, Valley Electric and Vendola Plumbing.
CHIEFTAIN PHOTOS/MATT HILDNER