Multiple construction projects total over $986.1 million, present obstruction to students

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 10:27pm

Ongoing construction projects at the University of Michgian total over $986.1 million in costs, and many students say they're inconvenienced by the various obstructions — many of which will not be completed in time for current students to take advantage of them.

Some recent changes to the campus landscape that have been completed are the new Biological Science Building, opening in summer 2018, which will house the University’s Museum of Natural History and Weiser Hall, which will open this summer and will house the Department of Astronomy and LSA’s International Institute. 

LSA junior Claire Bartosic shared how the closing of the sidewalks near Weiser Hall continues to make an impact on her walk to class. 

“On a daily basis, construction can often get in the way of just walking,” Bartosic said. “It’s not as bad now, but last year, when it was all closed off, you couldn’t easily walk.”

The $986.1 million is planned to be spent among 13 major construction projects currently underway across the campus, not including current projects on the University’s Medical Campus, smaller renovations and recently completed projects. Of the running total, $102.6 million of funding of the construction projects will come from the Student Life Student Fee paid with student tuition.

Of the student tuition money, a portion will go toward renovations of the Michigan Union and the North Campus Recreation Building. Some new features for the Union include the enclosure of the courtyard on the main level for year-round usage and a new open-concept layout. The NCRB will gain expanded weight and training rooms.

An estimated total of 934,600 gross square feet will be constructed in new buildings and building additions, along with the renovations, an estimated total of 608,500 square feet of existing buildings around campus will be renovated.

The sidewalk leading to the Hill Neighborhood from Central Campus, where new Biological Science Building is located, would often be closed during the initial stages of construction and required students to find alternate — often longer — routes to class.

“When I lived on the Hill last year and had to walk through the walkway, I would leave earlier just in case the walkway was closed, which happened like twice,” said Bishop.

Last year, with the construction of the new addition to the Ross School of Business, many residents of East Quad Residence Hall felt the construction had a largely negative impact on their experience.

At its most recent meeting, the Board of Regents approved plans to expand the University’s Central Power Plant with an estimated $80 million budget. The expansion, estimated to be 12,000 square feet, will house a 15-megawatt eco-friendly combustion turbine, which will reduce the University’s greenhouse gas production by an estimated 100,000 tons per year.