Alumni Center Construction Manager is Aztec Alum
Long before the first shovel of dirt was ever turned for the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center, Steve Nelson (’96) of Midwest General, Inc. was involved in the facility’s construction. In 2001 when the building was in the planning phase, he was hired as the development manager for the project, working for the SDSU Alumni Association.
Steve Nelson ('96) is construction manager for the new Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.
When construction began in 2008, Nelson’s role converted to that of construction manager. In doing so, his responsibilities extended from planning to the design process, budget, schedule, and construction all the way through to occupancy. Over the years, there were many changes to the plans discussed in the beginning.
“Since 2001 we went through several different designs ranging from 25,000 square feet up to almost 50,000 square feet,” Nelson says. “In the end, it was determined 30,000 square feet provided the optimal size and number of spaces for the facility.”
Nelson, who confesses to a passion for building, says he’s pleased and even a little surprised at how the $11 million alumni center turned out.
“After looking at the plans all these years,” he admits, “the spaces ended up feeling much larger in size and volume due to the high ceilings than I ever imagined. They exceeded my expectations.”
A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT
That’s quite a statement considering Nelson has spent the better part of two decades working on campus facilities. His first SDSU project was the Chemistry and Geology Building addition in 1993. Since then he has managed 12 projects on campus including Parking Structure 5, the Prospective Student Center, and a recent remodel to the SDSU Bookstore entrance.
Steve Nelson ('96) reviews building plans at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.
In fact, it’s almost as if Nelson never left Montezuma Mesa since earning his MBA in 1996. It seems there’s always a project requiring his skills and he’s happy to be on campus.
“I am always impressed with the level of class and professionalism and the friendly, positive work environment at SDSU,” he says.
When asked about his favorite element of the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center, Nelson pauses to consider the question.
“The boardroom, ballroom, and library are very nice, but I like the outdoor rotunda,” he decides. “It’s a distinguishing feature that provides an interesting entrance to the building. I think the rotunda will become a preferred spot to hold informal gatherings, for example, before a basketball game in Viejas Arena.
“This building is a tool for SDSU that is long overdue,” he continues. “It’s going to be a grand place for SDSU to reconnect with its large alumni network and to take another step toward a successful future."
Nelson says the alumni center is a place he’ll enjoy visiting frequently long after the project is finished. But there are other campus locations where he relishes spending time.
“I like walking through the center of campus past the clock tower and student services, north of the library through the sycamore trees, past the bell towers at Hepner Hall, and down the hill to the koi ponds by Scripps Cottage,” he says. “I have two boys, Spencer (7) and Austin (6), who make the walk with me about once a month to feed the turtles and koi. We smell the flowers and I answer all their questions about what college is all about. We’re lucky to live nearby because we get to visit the campus regularly.”
SDSU is lucky, too, that an alum like Steve Nelson, who cares so much about the campus, plays such a key role in its expansion.