Murphy, Ford renovations to be finished six months early

Nathan Whalen

The renovation of Murphy and Ford halls will be completed six months early thanks to a new design-build process.
The process allows designers and builders to work together closely to renovate campus projects.
“We’ll be able to move in by spring semester,” said Scott Elton, assistant to the director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “We are very excited.”
Normally, construction projects at the University are designed and then contractors bid on the projects. Construction finally begins after these two steps are completed.
With this new process, the University starts bidding on a contract as the project is being designed, said Bill Cowger, outside-owners representative for the University.
Because the University had a good idea of what changes were needed, the renovation of Murphy and Ford halls also started while the project was being designed, said Eric Kruse, vice president of Facilities Management.
This process has been used in the construction of additions to Territorial Hall and the Barbara Baker Dance Center, and in the renovation of Jackson Hall. The new process has saved time on all of the projects, Kruse said.
The Jackson Hall renovation took 11 months, allowing faculty to move back into the hall when construction would have just been starting, he added.
“The design-build process has saved the University tons and tons of money,” Cowger said.
The money saved by speeding up the renovation went toward improving the infrastructure of the buildings, including better access to new technology.
“This process allowed us to do more with financial resources,” Kruse said. He added that the process is a growing trend in the construction industry.
In total, more than $18 million was spent on the renovation of both buildings.
The renovation is expected to last 50 years.
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication will return to Murphy Hall on Jan. 3, and spring classes have already been scheduled to meet in both halls.

Nathan Whalen covers construction and facilities, and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612)627-4070×3237.