Before the University’s Board of Regents flies to New York in January for three days of seminars and fundraising events, they will convene Thursday for their last meeting of the year. The regents are expected to approve a host of renovation and infrastructure projects as well as provide authorization to seek construction bids on existing initiatives.
Regents to approve Pierpont Commons renovation
Pending approval at Thursday’s meeting, the University will move forward with the next phase of a multi-year renovation of the unions and recreational spaces.
University Unions has proposed the renovation of Commons Cafe, the food-court style space located within Pierpont Commons on North Campus. The project will renovate about 10,500 square feet of space, including the cafe’s food stands, dining areas and surrounding spaces, including four new culinary stations and upgraded finishes throughout the dining area.
Estimated to cost about $5.3 million, the renovation will be funded by the Student Life Student Fee for Facility Renewal, a $65 annual student fee approved by the regents in April to fund renovations to the Michigan Union, Pierpont Commons and the recreational sports facilities.
Central Student Government and LSA Student Government representatives spent much of last year lobbying for renovations of the University’s recreation and common spaces.
At the regents meeting in April, Caroline Canning, former LSA Student Government President, said investing in the University’s brick-and-mortar student spaces is crucial.
“Spaces on campus aren’t just spaces; spaces are where college experiences really unfold,” Canning said in April.
The project will be designed by SHW Group and construction is scheduled to complete in the fall of 2014.
Infrastructure upgrades at Law Library, Hatcher Graduate Library up for consideration
In separate agenda items, the regents will vote to approve projects at two of the University’s most frequented libraries.
After a 2010 study of the William Cook Legal Research Library’s infrastructure, the University identified key maintenance priorities for the more than 80-year-old library.
On Thursday, the regents will consider plans to provide needed attic insulation and replace much of the ninth floor’s roofing for an estimated $1.7 million provided by General Fund resources.
The plan calls for the replacement of 4,200 square feet of failing roofing and 5,100 square feet of failing membrane roofing on the ninth floor. The project will add 9,600 square feet of attic space under the roof to allow for fireproofing and energy saving insulation.
Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library is also set to receive additional upgrades.
Focused on replacing the building’s nearly 40 year-old fire detection and alarm system, the project will bring Hatcher’s alarm and emergency lighting systems up to current safety codes. Estimated to cost $3 million, the project will be funded by investment proceeds.
The University of Michigan Department of Architecture, Engineering and Construction will design both projects, with SmithGroupJJR collaborating on the Hatcher Library project.
Construction at both libraries is slated for completion by the fall of 2014.
Schematic design for Nuclear Engineering Laboratory renovation to be considered
At the September 2013 meeting, the regents approved the $11.4 million renovation of the Ford Nuclear Reactor Laboratory, which will transform the building into classroom and laboratory space. The project will be funded by College of Engineering resources.
The board will consider the schematic plans of the renovation Thursday, which were designed by SmithGroupJJR, an architectural firm used often by the University. The project will create additional floor space within the structure, increasing the building’s square footage to 20,500 gross square feet.
In a communication with the regents, Tim Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, wrote that the project will accommodate the needs for the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences in the College of Engineering.
Within the new space, flexible research laboratories, testing areas, offices, support spaces and mechanical equipment will be available for students and faculty. While parking in spaces near the site will be lost during the construction period, the project will not eliminate any parking spaces in the surrounding areas.
In a September interview, Donald Gilgenbach, chair and Chihiro Kikuchi Collegiate Professor in NERSD, said the current laboratory facilities do not meet the faculty’s needs since the program’s research funding has increased over the years. He added that the new building will create the “perfect” environment for more research due to its expansive space and thick-shielded walls.
The project is set to provide 18 on-site construction jobs and is slated for completion by fall 2015.
Board to consider awarding construction contracts for Earl V. Moore Building, Varsity Drive dry goods relocation
In two separate items on the agenda, the board will grant construction contracts to two previously approved projects: the renovation of the Earl V. Moore Building and the relocation of dry collections from the Varsity Drive Building.
While its schematic design and revised budget were approved at the October meeting, the Earl V. Moore Building renovation and Brehm Pavilion project are still seeking project bids and construction contracts for the project to begin.
Funded by investment proceeds and gifts, the project will cost $24,320,000 and will increase the number and quality of practice rooms and office space in the building. The Brehm Pavilion will include three classrooms, a lecture hall, labs for piano classes and other spaces for practice and rehearsal.
Slated for completion in fall 2015, the project will provide 38 on-site construction jobs.
At the April meeting, the board approved the schematic designs of the Varsity Drive Building dry collections relocation renovations project. This project will relocate dry research museum collections and offices for the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Museums of Anthropology and Paleontology.
While these offices will all be relocated to the Varsity Drive Building, they are currently in the Alexander Ruthven Museums Building, the Campus Safety Services Building and the Clarence Cook Little Science Building.
The 71,000 square foot renovation of the Varsity Drive Building will make way for the relocation of these collections and create environmentally-controlled areas with varying conditions to provide the best space for the collections, according to a communication to the regents by Slottow.
The project will cost $27,450,000, and will be funded by LSA resources. The construction will provide 63 on-site jobs and is scheduled for completion in winter 2015.
Bond proposal to fund major University projects
Though the University has already authorized many new construction projects over the past year, the regents will consider the authorization of up to $110 million in bonds to provide the initiatives with long term financing.
The bond proposal will finance several major projects including the A. Alfred Taubman Health Sciences Library Renovation, the Institute for Social Research addition, renovations of South Quadrangle, West Quadrangle and the Michigan Union, as well as a host of renovations at UM-Dearborn.
The bonds will be backed by General Revenues, composed of revenue from students, athletics, housing, parking, gifts, grants and investment proceeds.
The interest of the bonds will be determined by Timothy Slottow, the University’s chief financial officer and executive vice president, based on market conditions at the time the bonds are issued.