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Regents to approve West Quad redesign

By Paige Pearcy, Deputy Magazine Editor
Published February 18, 2013

At the University Board of Regents meeting Thursday, the board will seek approval for proposed renovations to West Quad that will amount to $114.5 million.

The proposed improvements include updating the plumbing and heating systems, replacing the roofs and removing the dining hall in favor of “much-needed spaces for student interaction, creation of community, and living and learning activities,” Timothy P. Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, and E. Royster Harper, the University’s vice president for student affairs, wrote in a communication to the regents.

The funding for the project will come from the University Housing budget, which is a portion of the remodeling and renovation auxiliary fund and valued at about $121.4 million last year.

Built in 1937, West Quad houses about 1,100 students. After the construction, residents will dine in South Quad Residence Hall. This is the third residence hall to be approved for improvement as a part of the Residential Life Initiative, which works to update facilities and programs on campus associated with living in the University’s residential communities.

With the board’s approval, Integrated Design Solutions LLC will design the project and present the schematic design for approval once complete.

Board to approve South Quad schematic plan

The board is also set to consider the schematic design for the upcoming South Quad renovations created by the SmithGroupJJR, as requested by Slottow and Harper.

At the Sept. 2012 meeting, the board approved the project and the appointment of the architecture firm. At an estimated cost of $60 million — funded by housing resources — the project will renovate approximately 106,700 square feet of space on the ground floor and first floor of the residence hall.

The renovation will expand student dining facilities, update bathrooms throughout the building and create new spaces — including group study spaces, music practice rooms and refurbished lounges — to “revitalize the residence hall and create much-needed spaces for student interaction and community development,” Slottow and Harper wrote in a communication with the regents.

New infrastructure, plumbing, heating and fire detection systems will also be added to the renovated areas.

The process is expected to create 131 on-site construction jobs and is expected to be complete in the summer of 2014.

Regents to vote on museum collections transfer to Varsity Drive building

Pending approval at Thursday’s meeting, planning will begin to transfer dry museum research collections from several buildings on Central Campus to the off-campus Varsity Drive Building, which will undergo extensive renovations.

In addition to the transfer of dry collections, the project will also relocate related lab spaces and select offices of the anthropology, paleontology and zoology departments to the new space as well. These resources are currently located in the Ruthven Museums Building, the Campus Safety Services Building and the C.C. Little Science Building.

The Varsity Drive building, which is currently a warehouse, is located off of East Ellsworth Road between State Street and Stone School Road. It borders Interstate 94.

The resulting changes are expected to make administration of the collections more efficient by locating them with the wet specimen collections already stored in the Varsity Drive building. The move will also create 40 new Central Campus parking spaces.

The project will renovate 71,000 square feet of the Varsity Drive Building for an estimated cost of $27.5 million, funded by LSA. The improvements will include temperature and humidity controls to protect the collections, as well as architectural, mechanical and electrical work to repurpose the space.

If approved, architectural firm SmithGroupJJR will be contracted for the project and will create 63 on-site construction jobs.

In the recommendation, Slottow wrote that design will begin immediately and the construction schedule will be released when he seeks approval of the schematic design at a future meeting.

Schematic Design for College of Pharmacy renovations to be voted on

The regents will also seek approval of the schematic design proposed for renovations made to the basement and first floor of the College of Pharmacy building. The construction, scheduled to be completed by this fall, will cost about $2.6 million and funding will come from the school’s budget.

The 12,000 square-foot project, which was approved at the Nov. 2012 meeting, aims to create smaller offices and build a small lobby entrance with the extra space. The project is also slated to improve the main entrance, “to address accessibility issues and provide for a more welcoming entry,” Slottow wrote.

Daily Staff Reporters Jennifer Calfas and Sam Gringlas contributed to this report.


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