Familiar Places Changing Faces
Political science professor, Edward Heck, Ph.D. on his last day in his Nasatir Hall office.
On a recent morning in his office near the south staircase on the ground floor of Nasatir Hall, Edward Heck, Ph.D., was boxing his books and placing his papers in bundles. After 22 years in the same cozy confines, the political science professor was packing for a move across campus to his new temporary digs in Adams Humanities.
Heck was among the last of some 400 faculty members abandoning the facility to make way for the long-awaited renovation of the Storm Nasatir Building Complex. The $73-million project begins this month and is expected to be completed in early 2015.
"I'd rather stay here, but the building is in pretty sorry shape
,” Heck said. “It needs some work."
Architect's rendering of plans for the new Storm Nasatir Building Complex as seen from the northwest.
Besides new faculty offices, included in the work the buildings will undergo are new and upgraded classroom technologies, academic and research laboratories, two new lecture halls and a small food service facility. The overhaul of the 1957 facilities will bring them in line with current health, safety, energy and access standards.
“It's a sad old building that’s kind of embarrassing to show people through,” said Bob Schulz, SDSU’s associate vice president of operations. “It's an energy pig extraordinaire. We can't even calculate how much energy it uses because it's not currently metered, but we’re pretty confident that at the end of the day we will add about 30,000-plus square feet to that building and reduce our actual energy use for the complex.”
A renovated Nasatir Hall as viewed from the east in an architect's drawing.
When classes are in session during fall and spring semesters, thousands of students, faculty and staff use Storm and Nasatir Halls each day. For the next two and a half years, Schulz says, they will be dispersed among facilities across campus including Peterson Gym, Hepner Hall, the library, trailers in parking lots along College Avenue and other locations.
Helping to make the transition go smoothly are staff members like David Poddig ('81) a technician with Instructional Technology Services who has worked on campus for 30 years. As he moved equipment out of recently-abandoned classrooms, Poddig paused to remember his first class in Storm Hall as a new master’s student more than three decades ago.
David Poddig ('81) remembers his first class in Storm Hall.
“It was a humid night,” he recalled. “I came from Northern California, so I was overdressed and I didn't have my t-shirt and shorts on yet and my professor came and said, 'You'll probably want to change.'”
Poddig has seen several renovations of the Storm Nasatir Complex over the years and said he’ll be sorry to see the old facilities go. But he admitted improvements are “definitely needed” and said the upgrade will be welcome.
"I'm happy to see it getting ‘refreshed,’ as we say now, and will be happy when students come back,” he said. “It's kind of sad now because everyone's going away and everything's being carted away - all the familiar desks and everything like that - but we'll have a chance to build anew in here and provide a continuing first-class education on this side of the campus."
Storm and Nasatir Halls are named for (l-r) the late San Diego State professors Alvena Storm and Abraham P. Nasatir.
Both Storm and Nasatir Halls are named for former San Diego State professors. Alvena Storm was a geography instructor who joined the faculty in 1926 and taught on campus for 40 years. Abraham P. Nasatir was a professor emeritus of history who taught at San Diego State for 46 years from 1928-1974. Professor Heck knew them both.
"To me, they represent, in many ways, what San Diego State became: an institution where the faculty are committed to both teaching and research," the professor said. "I think it's very important that buildings are named for distinguished faculty members from the past because that really is a link between the past of the institution and its present and future."
The Storm Nasatir Building Complex makeover will be paid for largely through state funding. It is one of two major renovation projects likely to be underway when classes begin in the fall.
An architect's drawing of the University Towers renovation planned for later this summer. Many alumni remember the building as El Conquistador.
The second project is the renovation of University Towers residence hall, formerly known as El Conquistador. Plans call for a new façade, meeting rooms and an upgraded dining facility among other improvements.
Currently, that project is up for bid. It is expected to cost approximately $10-million with construction taking place while students are still living in the building. The renovation is expected to last one year.
View a photo album of the abandoned Storm Nasatir Building Complex!
Read more about the renovation of Storm and Nasatir Halls at SDSU NewsCenter.