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Crews finalize construction

With an expected enrollment of more than 23,000 students this upcoming year, making Portland State University the most populous in Oregon, the campus has needed to grow with the increase, which has meant some very necessary improvements to facilities.

“We’re building the future here,” said Burt Ewart, special projects architect for PSU.

Parking Structure Three has undergone a major overhaul this summer, bringing with it an additional 349 parking spaces. The structure will boast rooftop parking, an elevator and seismic upgrades, as well as an aesthetically pleasing appearance when completed.

������ Parking will be available beginning Sept. 30, but the entire project will take until late October for all 1,164 parking spots to be available. When finished, there will be three pay stations similar to the city’s new models to accommodate the first level’s 140 hourly-only (up to four hours) spots.

Until the stations are added, there are two- and four-hour passes being sold at the kiosk located in Parking Structure Three for $2 and $4 respectively. The kiosk hours are 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.

There will “probably” be a change machine located in the garage as well, according to Dan Zalkow from the parking office.

Smith Memorial Student Union, formerly known as Smith Memorial Center, is basically in its final stages of improvements. Those who were less than thrilled with the cafeteria’s seating arrangements last year may be glad to learn that all new furniture has been added to the north section. Seismic upgrades have also been added and the stage has been relocated, creating more open space in the room and making it more flexible for different activities.

Additional classrooms were also added behind the information desk in order to make use of the previously empty space.

This year’s basketball and volleyball games will be played in the Stott Center’s fully renovated main gymnasium. Previous seasons have had lackluster crowds, mostly due to the uncomfortable bleachers and design of the gym.

“The new gym will offer a better flow in and out,” Ewart said. “With the court rotated 90 degrees, people will be able to come and go easier and with less disruptions.”

Although the total capacity has been reduced from 2,000 to about 1,250, seating will be much more comfortable with stadium-style seats. Proper wheelchair seating has also been added, as well as a new scoreboard and a more attractive color scheme.

Another project taking place this year is the renovation of the Helen Gordon Child Development Center, located on the corner of 12th Avenue and Market Street. The growing student body brings with it a growing need for child care.

The Center, built in 1923, will soon double in size, with infant and toddler programs becoming available in the fall of 2003. The structure will expand west across the current parking lot and the playground will be extended south to meet up with the parking structure, eliminating the walkway some see as a security hazard to both pedestrians and playing children.

As for this year, a new kitchen is being added, as well as a temporary playground across the street, just north of the Honors Program building. Renovations will get under way once the budget/bidding process is completed.