Work zone: Upgrades, new projects continue
ard hats were the accessory of choice on the River Campus and at the Medical Center this summer as new building projects and facilities improvements continued at full pace. Here’s a look at the work freshly completed and at projects still under way.
One of the largest and most visible projects is the construction of the new Biomedical Engineering Optics Building. The work is on schedule for completion in spring 2007. According to Wayne Goodwin, director of planning and project management for the River Campus, the exterior brick work is 80 percent complete and window installation will begin soon. A phased move-in is scheduled for later this year on the first three floors, with finish work continuing on the fourth and fifth floors in late winter/early spring.
The $37.7 million, 100,000-square-foot building will house scientists studying both optics and biomedical engineering and facilitate their collaboration. It will adjoin the Wilmot Building and include extensive research facilities, undergraduate and graduate teaching labs, state-of-the-art demonstration halls, a 155-seat lecture hall, and the new Center for Institute Ventures. The building will be named for Trustee Robert Goergen ’60, who pledged $10 million to fund construction.
Two major projects that were completed recently include upgrading windows in Lattimore Hall to increase energy efficiency and replacing the turf in Fauver Field to help reduce injuries to athletes who practice and compete on the field. “The previous turf, although state-of-the-art when installed, was very abrasive,” says Goodwin. “This new turf is designed to offer more cushion and is comparable to the kind used at many NFL venues. It includes strands of man-made grass that are filled in with cushioning pellets. The result is a turf that is much closer to natural grass, with its sponginess. And it has shown to reduce injuries, such as cuts and bruises.”
Other improvements made this summer to River Campus facilities include adding sprinklers and fire alarms to the Fraternity Quad, replacing the roof at Hill Court residence hall, installing a handicap-accessible ramp at the entrance to Wilson Commons, and adjusting the sidewalk along Library Road to meet standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act for steep grades, including adding rest platforms at specified intervals.
Work continues on the new James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the corner of Crittenden Blvd. and East Dr., serving as the southeast anchor to the Medical Center campus. It is funded in part by a $42.5 million comprehensive campaign to support the expansion of clinical care and research and the recruitment of 25 additional clinicians and scientists to expand research at the Medical Center. The four-story, 163,000-square-foot building doubles the amount of space for clinical and translational research. Completion is expected in spring 2008.
Mark Schwartz, director of planning and project management for the Medical Center, says foundation work will be wrapping up soon, and the basic structure will start to take shape by spring. Simultaneously, crews will be installing utilities such as electrical lines, telecommunications/data cables, and water connections for heating and cooling. This infrastructure is designed to support the new center and also provide for future growth. There will be multiple excavation sites concentrated around Jackson Dr., Elmwood Ave., East Dr., and near Goler. Expect some roadway disruptions this fall, although efforts will be made to maintain two-way traffic in the areas that are affected.