The dump that is LSU’s Dalrymple Building

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Entrance to the Annex building of LSU’s Dalrymple Building, in the shadow of Tiger Stadium

By Robert Mann

Let’s face it, behind its lovely facade, much of the LSU campus is a dump. Drive around campus. Looking at it through your windshield, you’ll be inspired by LSU’s stunning live oaks and its grand old buildings. Park your car, walk inside many of those “grand” buildings, however, and you’ll be appalled.

In my recent column on NOLA.com and a separate pictorial blog post, I documented the deplorable state of the LSU Middleton Library. It’s a disgusting facility, just a three-minute walk from the palace known as the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes (the former gym-armory, restored in 2002 with more than $15 million in private funding).

In the coming weeks, I will document the sad state of other buildings around the LSU campus. (I’m open to suggestions from students, faculty and staff about which buildings to investigate next. Also, if you work on another Louisiana college campus, please send me photos of your deplorable workspace, as I know LSU isn’t the only Louisiana public university with a campus in sad shape.)

It should also be noted that many academic buildings at LSU are in fine shape. French House, the home of the Odgen Honors College, is getting a much-needed renovation. There will soon be a massive restored building for the Engineering School. The Student Union was recently upgraded and expanded. My own school’s Journalism Building was restored more than a dozen years ago (although, don’t mind the frequent water leaks that are responsible for ceiling tiles that regularly collapse onto students’ desks and employee work spaces. And please overlook the disturbing black soot that spews from the air conditioning vents year round.)

But just as many buildings, or more, are in such a state of disrepair that it should shame every citizen of Louisiana. On one side of “the tracks,” the athletic facilities are state of the art. No expense (it’s mostly private money) is spared for the comfort and education of athletes.

But, believe me, expenses are spared when it comes to the education of “regular” students.

Today, we direct our gaze to the Dalrymple Building, another building that rests in the proverbial and literal shadow of Tiger Stadium on Campus Drive, just a block off Field House Drive.

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Dalrymple Hall on LSU’s Baton Rouge campus

On the second floor, is an ecology lab run by Associate Professor Linda Hooper-Bùi, of the Department of Environmental Science with the school’s College of the Coast & Environment. Among other things, Hooper-Bùi studies ants. She’s a remarkable scholar and teacher. She won the 2012 Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America’s 2012 award for Distinguished Achievement in Teaching. Her enthusiasm for her work and her students is immediately infectious.

That is why it was so disheartening to receive a tour of her second-floor lab in Dalrymple and the adjacent annex building, where she and her students must conduct their work. The tap water in the lab is filthy and unsafe to drink, Hooper-Bùi says. There is no hot running water. I saw that for myself, trying without success to turn on hot-water taps.  Students must trek to the Student Union periodically to fill water bottles to be used in the lab and for drinking and making coffee.

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Students use a jug like this to bring in water to the lab from the Student Union.

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No hot water and the cold water is not fit to drink.

Below are a few more photos of spaces within the second-floor lab. Notice the condition of the walls and windows. Imagine if this were the condition of a window in the Provost’s Office or in that of a football coach.

If that were the case, how long do you imagine it would take for repairs to be ordered and completed?

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Note the paper towels stuffed into the window to serve as “insulation.”

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And, now, for some photos of the annex building behind Dalrymple. This is used as a “rearing room” for ants and other insects she and her students study.

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Jasmine is slowly consuming the annex building

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The grand entrance to the annex building

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For some reason, fan belts are also stored in the first floor of the annex building

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Apparent termite damage in the annex building

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Ants in the rearing room, which students and faculty struggle to keep warm in the winter

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Ants, but don’t call Terminix. She and her student raise them.

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A “repaired” window in the annex

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This photo was taken from the inside! Jasmine is invading the building.

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Peeling paint is everywhere in the annex. The person who gave me a tour said she worries about the health implications of lead in the paint chips that are peeling everywhere throughout the building.

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27 Responses to The dump that is LSU’s Dalrymple Building

  1. Corky mcgrew says:

    Ah…but think of the travel dollars when you can get the effect of physical disrepair as in India without ever having to leave home…

    Like

  2. Barbara says:

    How will this be fixed?

    Like

  3. Stephen Winham says:

    I can only ditto my earlier comments about the often hidden effects of the kind of indiscriminate budget cuts to which higher education and other entities have been the subject (not, despite popular belief, limited to higher education and health care). The effects of deferred maintenance are gradual at first, but rapidly escalate and domino over time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fredster says:

      That’s correct Stephen as you and OneStateWorker said. What may have cost (just as an example) in the six figures for repairs will now cost millions.

      Like

  4. earthmother says:

    Priorities? Exactly what does the LSU Foundation do with the huge amount of funds it raises for the “flagship university”? If these photos represent the flagship, what do the rest of our colleges and universities look like?

    Is this the environment we want for our young people – “our future”? Is that what parents expect when we send our children to school? If the LSU Foundation funds prestigioius professorships. who in their right mind would come to a university to work and teach in these conditions? Priorities – we all know the real priorities.

    The word “shameful” doesn’t even describe the situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fredster says:

      earthmother, don’t you know that Stephen Moret called the LSU alumni cheap when it comes to donations to their alma mater?

      http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/12/lsu_giving.html

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      • earthmother says:

        Missed that story, Fredster. Thanks for posting the link. The quote below says it all:

        “LSU’s giving for its athletic programs is actually fairly robust, but the school has not been as successful when it comes to fundraising for academic programs, according to Moret.”

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      • Fredster says:

        But what bothers me earthmother is that here’s the guy who helped give away the treasury through his (and his boss) tax incentives to businesses and the state didn’t get diddly squat from the “investment” in a number of instances.

        I did not attend LSU but I was not a happy camper when I saw that he got that job.

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      • earthmother says:

        Fredster, I was totally disgusted, like you, when Moret became head of the LSU Foundation. Every outgoing governor outplaces key staff and tries to put them in strategic positions as a reward, but in this case, I see it as an attempt to maintain the destructive jindal regime. Fox, meet henhouse.

        I’m an LSU alumna, along with my siblings, daughter and nieces. We care strongly about academics. For several years, I volunteered to help fundraise for my major area. I was dismayed that the records did not have my correct name (never corrected after several requests), and that we were calling a huge number of people who had never attended LSU.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Fredster says:

        earthmother said: we were calling a huge number of people who had never attended LSU.

        Oh that sounds completely amateurish. Were the records wrong or were they expecting y’all to make cold calls to people? That’s awful.

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      • earthmother says:

        Fredster, the records were completely incorrect, with lists purchased from a national company (a common practice in obtaining mailing and calling lists). The whole effort was amateurish, and after several cycles of volunteers making outbound calls, with little success, the project was dropped.

        Like

      • Fredster says:

        Oh my…that is just…lame.

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  5. OneStateWorker says:

    These photos show another example of a lesser known aspect of jindal’s budget disasters: Deferred maintenance and reduced capital spending throughout state government. Every organization needs to maintain their buildings and equipment. And some equipment, like computers, needs to be replaced on a regular basis. jindal intentionally didn’t make necessary expenditures. He asked reduced staff to do more with less and part of the less was run down work spaces and “dull” old tools.

    Like

  6. Lauren says:

    Although the Cox building may look good, have you checked out the attached old gym-armory basement where some of the archaeology labs are as well as collection spaces for what should be considered important prehistoric and natural history artifacts? It’s horrible, and shows yet again where we place our priorities when it comes to LSU.

    Like

  7. amar115 says:

    Pretty much of all of the college of art and design buildings need help. Atkinson can uses a lot of help; you can’t escape the smell of mold. Also the Studio arts space is in terrible shape.

    Like

  8. Lexie Breaux says:

    Although engineering overall is getting redone, please go take a look at the current chemical engineering building as well. We suffer too even though we have money because it goes straight to hiring new faculty since there are so many students. It’s a terrible situation all together…

    Like

  9. Fredster says:

    Bob do you know if the peeling paint has been tested for lead?

    Like

  10. Joshua says:

    Bob, a small correction. That is not ivy. It is jasmine.

    Like

  11. Dear Mr. Mann, I am the great-granddaughter of Dr. W. H. Dalrymple for whom this building was named. I am deeply saddened to see its condition. Is there anyway to restore it? Or will it be left to decay further, and then be torn down? Who should I contact about this? Thank you, Connie Fauver Anderson, M.Ed., LSU ’71, ’73

    Like

    • rtmannjr says:

      I would suggest you contact President King F. Alexander. I would think he would be happy to hear from someone related to the person after whom the building is named.

      Like

  12. AnotherStateWorker says:

    Take a look at Francioni right next door. If someone could take you down to the basement, you’ll discover that the first floor is about to collapse.

    Like

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