MSU hires firm to design 'Sparty' intersection; accepts gifts, grants totaling $48.4 million

Contact: Terry Denbow, University Relations, (517) 355-2262,

Jun 08, 2004

EAST LANSING, Mich. - A Detroit firm has been hired by Michigan State University to help re-design the on-campus intersection where Red Cedar, Chestnut and Kalamazoo roads all converge, which is also the current location of the well-known Spartan statue.

At its meeting today, the MSU Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Hamilton Anderson Associates of Detroit as architect/engineer for the project that will re-configure the intersection and move the statue, which is commonly known as "Sparty," to a new location.

Under the plan, the existing Sparty statue - a nearly 10-foot ceramic sculpture that has been standing guard at the same site since 1945 - will move to its new home in the addition that is being built adjacent to the Spartan Stadium.

A new Sparty statue will be placed at the north end of Demonstration Hall field and the Red Cedar-Chestnut-Kalamazoo intersection will be become two "T" intersections.

"This project meets two main objectives - it improves safety at the intersection while preserving the prominence of the statue," said Jeff Kacos, director of MSU's Office of Campus Park and Planning.

Work on the project, which will temporarily close the intersection, will begin in the spring of 2005.

In other action, the board approved the appointment of two architect/engineer firms that will help design a new on-campus housing project.

To be located in the Brody Complex, which is in the northwest corner of the campus, the new facility would be a 300-bed apartment-style residence hall that would accommodate campus residents while renovations to existing residence halls takes place. It also would be available for other students with the exception of freshmen.

The apartment-style housing is something many students have been asking for, said Angela Brown, director of University Housing.

"Students tell us they want more privacy and more space, and apartment-style housing will meet those needs," Brown said. "They can have this option right on campus."

If all goes according to plan, the new facility would be completed by the fall of 2007.

Hired as architect/engineers for the project were Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Mass., and Raymond O'Leary of Detroit.

The board also appointed Albert Kahn Associates of Detroit as architect/engineer for a project that will expand the Automotive and Energy Research Complex on Hulett Road.

The project will add another 32,000 square feet of space to the facility which houses the Powertrain Laboratory. The lab conducts research on automotive engine performance, including fuel efficiency and other automotive and energy related topics.

"This will allow us to bring many related research efforts under one roof, including the powertrain lab, combustion lab, the turbomachinery lab and two other labs that study fundamental and applied fluid mechanics," said Ronald Rosenberg, associate dean for research in the MSU College of Engineering. "We are also adding new test cells to aid university researchers in expanding their scope of automotive and applied energy work."

It's hoped the nearly $9 million addition is completed by early 2006.

Gifts, grants and contracts

Also today, the MSU board accepted gifts, grants and contracts, donated to the university between March 26 and June 2, totaling more than $48.4 million.

The grants included $2.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education that will be used to fund federal work-study programs.

"These funds are awarded to students who have demonstrated financial need," said Richard Shipman, director of MSU's Office of Financial Aid.

While some of these funds are used for off-campus employment, the "vast majority" is spent on campus, Shipman said.

"This covers 70 percent of the student's employment and the employer pays the rest," he said.

Some of the other grants accepted by the board included:

  • $2.7 million from the National Institutes of Health to MSU's Center for Integrative Toxicology, funds that will be used to investigate health hazards from groundwater contamination.
  • A nearly $1 million grant from NASA for funding of a Global Tropical Forest Information Center.
  • More than $700,000 from the National Institutes of Health to continue funding of a project designed to assist home health care providers.
  • More than $600,000 from the National Science Foundation to improve the teaching of mathematics at the middle-school level.