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USD president highlights enrollment increases and renovation projects on campus

University of South Dakota President Sheila Gestring unveiled highlights of the past year on campus, along with new developments for multiple projects in the coming years in her Thursday night State of the University address.

Gestring focused on increased student enrollment and renovations and updates across campus.

Some new additions on campus include a new study abroad center and an expansion to the current wellness center. Gestring also mentioned a new program called Charlie's Career Closet, that provides students with professional attire for job interviews.

In her presentation, Gestring reported USD's undergraduate enrollment is up by 7.7 percent and the school has the largest number of international students in its history.

With the influx of enrollment and undergraduate freshmen, Gestring said they plan to renovate residence halls.

“We are trying to renovate each residence hall one building at a time,” she said.

Currently, renovations are underway in Richardson Hall on a floor by floor basis.

“It’s incredibly more efficient to do it that way,” Gestring said.

Next academic year, the school plans to house more students in local hotels if enrollment continues to increase.

USD will request $20.5 million from the South Dakota Board of Regents and the governor at the next legislative session for facilities preservation on campus. If the request is met, Gestring said the university will match the amount and renovate four designated buildings.

The president ended the event presenting the president’s legacy awards, each given to outstanding faculty and staff for their work for the university.

Marissa Brunkhorst is a junior at the University of South Dakota. She is from Hutchinson, Minnesota and is based out of the Vermillion studio.