A rare situation will present itself this spring: one whole month without construction on campus.
After the scheduled completion of the Science Building construction on March 24, construction on the next project won’t begin until after graduation, April 26-27.
Ground is expected to be broken for the Student Life and Wellness building, along with the adjacent six-level parking structure, immediately after 2012 graduation.
Since construction documents will be up for contractor bids towards the beginning of March, the workers responsible for the job will likely be ready to go before graduation. The short hold on the work, according to Associate Vice President of Facilities Planning Jim Michaelis, was scheduled to ease the congestion sure to accompany graduates and the thousands of people that will be sharing their big day.
The month-long reprieve will probably be short-lived though, since two popular parking lots will be taken over by temporary fencing and hardhat areas. The 160,000 square foot, four level Student Life and Wellness Building will take the place of the small parking lot south of the library and east of the Liberal Arts Building. The pay lot north of the Student Center will be replaced with a parking structure, housing approximately 450 parking stalls.
While funding for the parking structure will come directly from parking revenue, student fees will pay for the Student Life and Wellness Building. The decision to use student fees for this building instead of waiting for state funding came from the student government, but not from this year’s staff. According to David Millet, the initial increase in student fees to fund the building started several years ago.
This year’s student government team may not have started the project, but Millet explained why he thought that it’s still a good idea.
“We want to give students a reason to stay on campus so we can change the commuter feel of the campus into a university feel,” Millet said.
The 18 months of construction it should take to finish the job may seem like a high price to pay for a different feel on campus. Millet says this change, though, will complete the “full-life experience” on campus, and play a large part in increasing student retention.
The amenities that will come with the Student Life and Wellness Building are certainly ample enticements. Along with student offices for the student government, newspaper and the Outdoor Adventure Center, the building will include basketball courts, bowling lanes, climbing walls and a running track, as well as other exercise facilities.
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