UR has been busy with construction projects both on and off campus. On-campus projects this semester include Gleason Library’s opening in November, a recently completed Learning Workshop and Connections Caf, which is planned to open during finals week.
Currently, the largest River Campus development is the new University Health Service building, an $11 million project. Construction broke ground last May and has progressed quickly from the large hole students found when they arrived earlier in the fall. Most recently, steel has been put up and is being enclosed, while workers begin to work on the interior infrastructure. Project Manager Paul Spaulding estimates it to be 40 percent complete.
Planning for the UHS building began in 2006, when Director of University Health Services Ralph Manchester and his staff proposed a design plan for a new building that would consolidate services previously scattered around the University.
“For the first time ever we will have medical care, counseling, health promotion and administrative staff all housed together. We currently have these parts of UHS in six different sites, which creates problems for our staff and for the students and employees we serve,” Manchester said.
Spaulding has worked with the project from its design to construction, coordinating between the program’s needs defined by Manchester and his staff, the contractor and management from LeChase Construction. Associate Vice President for University Facilities and Services Richard Pifer discussed the different areas considered during each project, such as the budget, schedule, scope and quality.
“If all are in congruence, you got a good project,” Pifer said.
According to Pifer, there were a series of project management meeting where concerns, such as security, parking, housekeeping and fire codes have begun to be addressed.
The sudden onset of winter weather does not seem to affect plans.
“We had a nice fall. Construction has been favorably impacted until a week ago. In the construction process, time is allocated for weather. There’s no reason to think the schedule will not be met,” Pifer said. The building will be ready for use by August 2008.
Off campus, an apartment complex constructed by a private developer will provide an additional off-campus option to students with fully furnished two- and four-bedroom units.
“Each unit has a living room and fully-equipped kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave, stove and dishwasher. There will be internet, cable and phone included,” Director of Residential Life Laurel Contomanolis said.
Construction began early fall and the apartments will be available for students to rent through the Office for Residential Life by fall 2008.
“Students will work directly with the Office for Residential Life to secure these apartments,” Contomanolis said. “Undergraduate students will sign a regular housing contract for the academic year if they live there, not a 12-month lease.”
Pifer explained that the University will lease the entire complex for students when it is completed, but, until then, UR is unaffiliated with construction plans because it is being developed by a third party and the University is renting the final project.
Pifer commented on differences between the UHS development and the apartments.
“[The Riverview project] is more centralized. It doesn’t involve as many people in the process,” he said.
Director of Planning and Project Management Wayne Goodwin characterized the activity level of development on the River Campus.
“Right now, the construction level on campus is slightly above normal,” Goodwin said. “A lot of projects are summer-based. We are now working on large projects for next summer.”
Leber is a member of the class of 2011.