Butte Hall set for renovations

Butte Hall is currently scheduled to undergo renovations in the summer of 2021 to bring the building up to code as well as update its interior and exterior.

Butte Hall is one of the main academic buildings at Chico State. At seven stories tall, it is home to a bevy of classrooms, departments and offices.

“Every student that takes classes (at Chico State) probably takes a class at Butte,” said Michael Guzzi, the associate vice president of facilities management and services.

Because of its prominence on campus, it’s important that the building be renovated. However, the university had to make decide whether they were going to renovate the building or tear it down completely.

After an extensive study, the decision was made to simply renovate the building. This is a more sustainable option, according to Guzzi.

“We came to the decision that we wanted to renovate it, not just because it was a little bit cheaper but also I looked at it…from a sustainability standpoint, basically re-using our existing inventory,” Guzzi said.

These renovations will change the exterior look of the building with the goal of making it look more up-to-date.

“It looks like a prison from the outside right now… it’s not an inviting building, it doesn’t welcome you in,” Guzzi said.

The renovations will also update the building’s interior, including upgrading the mechanical systems and elevators. These renovations will change the layout of the classrooms to fit the modern teaching style of many professors.

“Currently, the layout of the building is much more in the old-style lecture hall standard…whereas nowadays the new style of teaching is much more active learning,” Guzzi said.

The renovations will also allow for more classrooms and student spaces in Butte Hall. Some offices currently headquartered in Butte Hall will be moved out of the building to provide room for more classrooms.

“There’s about 20 IT staff that work on the 4th floor,” Guzzi said. “We’re currently working on where they’ll end up going. At least that three quarters of the fourth floor will go to the academic spaces.”

The part of the fourth floor not currently occupied by IT is where the data center and communications hub are held. This may or may not be moved out of Butte Hall.

“One of the things that proposers are going to give us ideas on is whether it’s the right idea to keep (the data center) in that building, or (we could) maybe build a little building right outside of Butte… a little block building and put the data center there,” Guzzi said.

Guzzi also confirmed the Butte will be abated during its renovations.

“The new building will be a clean building and code compliant,” he said.

Butte Hall is not the only building on campus in need of repairs. A facility condition assessment taken in 2016 reported that a third of Chico State’s buildings are in need of complete renovation or replacement.

Butte is listed on this assessment as one of the buildings that in need of complete replacement, along with Holt, Plumas, Langdon, Konkow and several others. The old physical science building, which is scheduled for renovations next year, is also listed.

Other buildings are listed as being in “poor condition,” meaning that total renovations are needed. Those buildings include the Meriam Library and the Performing Arts Center.

The cost of Butte’s renovations alone is $90 million. Funding for the renovations will be covered by both the university and the state. The state will pay $80 million while Chico State will cover the remaining $10 million.

The university is currently trying to hire a firm for the renovations to spend the next year and a half designing the building. The firm they hire will take input from students and professors for what they want out of the updated building.

“If you’re taking a class [in Butte] right now and your professor’s concerned, he’s probably gonna have a chance to voice his concerns when we do these meetings,” Guzzi said.

Jessie Imhoff can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JessieReports