Construction Projects Move Forward Some Delays, Officials Say
This summer construction projects progressed, yet many of the UA’s larger construction projects will continue throughout the year, officials said.
“We had a lot of summer critical deadlines for things that have to be done before school starts,” said Bob Beeler, director of design and construction.
Construction on the Hillside Auditorium is running behind schedule but is expected to be finished by the end of September, Beeler said.
“Maybe we were a little overly ambitious with Hillside and the gates are a little late as well,” Beeler said. “We’ve got to do like we did last year and work around it.”
Classes will be held in the Union Ballroom until the Hillside Auditorium is finished.
During the summer, the second floor classrooms of the Walton College of Business were gutted and rearranged and the restrooms were refurbished. In addition, eight classrooms in Kimpel Hall were revamped with cosmetic and technological upgrades. The Jean Tyson Childhood Development Center was completed and is now ready to accept students and the Arkansas Union Fitness Center is expected to open on time, Beeler said.
The Arkansas Union Fitness Center was opened at the end of last year, but was recently closed for a time to fix air conditioning units.
Another larger project completed over the summer was the Razorback Football Center — the addition of a new practice field and extra parking, Beeler said.
Several other, smaller projects were completed around campus, including an Einstein Bros Bagels kiosk in Bell Engineering Center and electrical upgrades in Pomfret and Yocum Halls, which are expected to make the residence halls healthier places to live, Beeler said.
“A lot of that stuff is stuff students can’t see; we also cleaned out Mullins Creek,” he said.
Mullins Creek is off campus near the poultry science farm.
Students on campus during the summer noticed the increase in construction.
“I took summer classes,” said sophomore food science major Julie Isenhower. “The construction was a little annoying, not being able to walk through certain areas and whatnot, but it needs to be done, I suppose, and it will be worth it in the end.”
While the progress made over the summer was “considerable,” Beeler said, students will not escape the construction during the school year. Several other large projects are just beginning.
The foundations for Founders Hall began over the summer and will add another 214 beds for on-campus students. Founders Hall is projected to be completed fall 2013, according to the facilities management website.
McIlroy Street, stretching from Dickson Street to Fairview Drive, is closed for the construction of Founders Hall. Maple Street was briefly closed for work on the Pi Beta Phi Gate and campus walk extension, but that is not expected to happen again, Beeler said. No other roads are expected to be closed, barring intermittent sidewalk repairs.
The area of Dickson Street was closed between Kimpel and Harmon Ave., but this area is now open.
“I noticed that the west end of Dickson Street was closed down, luckily I never drive down there,” Isenhower said, “But, if you want to walk you have to cross the street, walk like 50 feet and then cross the street again.”
Vol Walker Hall and Ozark Hall are not scheduled to be finished until next summer.
“It was a busy place (this summer),” Beeler said, “Overall we’re feeling good; most projects are on schedule.”