Campus construction on schedule, within budget

by Nathan Whalen

As the semester draws to a close and a new millennium approaches, most major University construction projects are on schedule, said Eric Kruse, vice president of University Services.
In 1998, the University allocated $400 million toward constructing new buildings and renovating existing facilities. Fourteen major projects are ongoing.
The project most recently completed is the Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium, which opened for games in September. The 1,000-seat women’s soccer facility, located across from the St. Paul campus, is named in honor of the first female owner of a professional sports team. Robbie purchased the Miami Toros soccer team in 1973.
Most other highly visible projects will also meet their completion deadlines.
ù Workers are continuing asbestos removal in Coffman Union. The University expects a contractor will begin the two-year, $50.2 million renovations in March.
ù Riverbend Commons’ completion date has been extended to fall 2001. Excavation for the project, which will contain a 1,700-space parking garage and a 500-bed student housing complex, will continue at the site near Coffman Union for another two weeks.
ù Owre Hall’s final demolition will be completed in about three weeks. The University is preparing to take contractors’ bids for construction of the Molecular and Cellular Biology building. Officials expect the building’s foundation to be laid in January.
ù Large caverns below West Bank’s Andersen Library have been completed, making way for University archive collections currently housed in six locations throughout campus. Construction crews working on the library’s interior are about three weeks behind schedule, Kruse said.
ù Gateway Center tenants started moving into the building in October. The building’s front, shaped like a geosphere, is expected to be completed on schedule for its February grand opening. The East Bank building will house a visitor’s center as well as offices for alumni organizations and the Board of Regents.
ù Construction on a $23.8 million addition to the Mechanical Engineering building is on schedule and within budget. The building is scheduled to be completed in summer 2000.
ù East Bank’s Walter Library will undergo an 18-month renovation this winter. Kruse said a contractor has not yet been selected.
ù Renovations of Ford and Murphy halls on the East Bank are six months ahead of schedule. Classes have been scheduled in both buildings for spring semester.

Nathan Whalen covers construction and facilities. He welcomes comments at [email protected].