Aug. 27 2014 12:00 AM

Campus changes modernize, modify and magnify

Every fall, MSU shows off some glistening new muscles, from jock-polishing sports facilities to quark-crushing science complexes.

Here are a few of the more conspicuous bulges Sparty has put on over the summer:

• Students and visitors to MSU this fall are most likely to notice that Spartan Stadium has become a lot less spartan. In 2004, the classic gladiator-type oval sprouted towering skyboxes, fashioned in the fashionable brick-and-limestone

layering of the period. This fall, in the architectural age of glass, football fans will enter the stadium through a gleaming, two-level, 55,000-square-foot entrance plaza. The donation-funded, $24.5 million plaza will house an all-sports recruitment center, new football locker rooms, media room, more concessions and bathrooms.

• Improvements to a hectic and crowded stretch of the paved trail along the Red Cedar River were completed just this week. Directly across Farm Lane from the north end of the stadium, wide new paved lanes just for bikes have been added to the pedestrian lanes running from the Sparty statue at Kalamazoo Street eastward to Ericson hall.

• Ground broke June 19 on a new, $60.8 million, 130,000-square-foot bio engineering building between the Life Science Building and Clinical Center on the science-heavy south side of campus. The university has high hopes for catching the nationwide wave of human tissue engineering and research with this interdisciplinary research hub. Faculty from the engineering, human medicine and natural science colleges, along with biomedical researchers, will converge in one building (with ice cream breaks at the MSU Dairy Store) to open another big door into the brave new world of biomechanics.

• The heaviest neutron star of the science and engineering complex on south campus settled in for real over the summer. On July 23, the first big structural concrete pour took place at the $730 million Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. More than 130 trucks poured 1,400 cubic yards of concrete to set down the floor of the underground tunnel at the heart of this gargantuan nuclear science facility. FRIB is scheduled to be finished in 2022.

• MSU´s latest renovated residence halls, Landon and Butterfield, opened on Aug. 16. Both halls closed in 2013 for major renovations inside and out. Butterfield opened in 1953; its renovation is the last of the Brody Complex dorms to be fixed up. Historic Landon was constructed in 1947, the first of MSU´s post-World War II dorms to open. The centerpiece of the Landon renovation is a three-level dining hall that adapts from intimate dinners to party-time blowouts, but there are many other improvements, including soundproof practice rooms for the many music majors who gravitate there. And, or course, Wi-Fi.