University regents to consider renovation for NCRB

By Genevieve Hummer, Daily Staff Reporter
and Allana Akhtar, Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 16, 2015

The University’s Board of Regents will consider two North Campus construction projects at their monthly meeting on Thursday.

The regents will vote to approve a $13 million proposal to renovate the North Campus Recreation Building and schematic designs for a $6.9 million outdoor public space on North Campus.

Built in 1976, the NCRB will be updated as a part of the larger initiative to improve the University’s unions and recreational sports facilities.

The proposed NCRB renovation will add 18,000 square foot to the existing space — making room for a new gymnasium, cardio and group exercise spaces and a new entry to the building.

A 50,000 square foot renovation of the existing building is planned to update the racquetball courts, restrooms and locker rooms. The project will also include electrical, heating and plumbing system upgrades.

The improvements will be funded by the Student Life Student Fee for Facility Renewal. The $65-per-term student fee was approved by the regents in April 2013.

The design phase of the project is scheduled to begin immediately, pending authorization from the Board, and will be contracted to Integrated Design Solutions in association with RDG Planning and Design.

During February’s meeting, the Board approved a $21.4 million construction budget for renovations to the University’s Intramural Sports Building, also funded by student fees.

Thursday, the regents with likely allow the University to move forward with seeking bids and awarding construction contracts.

The IM Building was the first university recreational sports facility in the country, built in 1928.

The project includes the addition of new racquetball courts, locker rooms and group fitness and weightlifting rooms, as well as infrastructure upgrades.

“The project will preserve the history of the 87-year-old iconic facility,” said E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, at the February regents meeting. “It will also promote the health and wellness of our students, faculty and staff.”

North Campus Grove project

The regents will also consider schematic designs for the North Campus Grove project, as well as grant the University authorization to award construction contracts.

The existing North Campus central lawn spans four acres and serves as the main outdoor gathering space on North Campus. The grove project will create an informal amphitheater and add a new central plaza to the lawn, as well as walkways, seating, trees and improved lighting, water and electrical infrastructure.

The proposed improvements will facilitate more opportunities for outdoor events, activities and displays on North Campus.

The regents approved the project at their meeting last April.

The project will be funded by gifts and College of Engineering resources.

Scheduled for fall of 2015 completion, the improvements are projected to create 27 on-site construction jobs.