Hillside Completion Delayed
The construction of The Hillside Auditorium is running behind schedule once again, officials said.
The auditorium was originally scheduled to be completed by Aug. 1, said Mike Johnson, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Management. The project is now expected to be complete Oct. 22.
The project was delayed for several months before construction began while officials made bids with local contractors and for materials, he said.
“August 1 is an original completion date that we use for most of our construction projects,” Johnson said, “very rarely do we ever meet that deadline.”
Fortunately, workers experienced a mild winter, allowing them to continue construction during the winter months, Johnson said.
The new auditorium will replace the old auditorium and the geology building, Johnson said.
“Both buildings were outdated and did not meet our efficiency standards any longer,” he said.
The location and slope of the hill played a role in the design of the construction.
“The site for this project required a very sensitive approach,” said Bob Beeler, director of Design and Construction Services for the UA. “The auditorium is being tucked into the hillside so that it does not overshadow the view of the Greek Theatre,” he said.
There will be two different auditoriums within the building. The upper auditorium will hold about 275 students while the lower auditorium will hold about 500 students, Johnson said. The two auditoriums will be connected by a lobby that runs transverse to the sloping site.
The budget for this project was about $ 9.7 million, Beeler said, and was designed to be as efficient as possible.
The auditorium will be “going green,” Johnson said. “All of our newest construction projects are designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver ranking requirements,” he said.
LEED provides building owners and operators a way to identify and implement practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions, according to the LEED website.
“We wanted to make it as efficient as possible. This way we will not only cut spending during construction but we will also have less maintenance costs in the long run,” Johnson said.
This project was commissioned by Rick Jones of Jones Architecture LLC, located in Salem, Mass.
Hillside Auditorium is not the first construction project that the UA has commissioned with Jones Architecture. The university has worked with the company on three projects over the past eight years, said Jill Anthes, campus planner.
“The greatest value that Rick brought to the process was his ability to balance program, conceptual design and project cost in the face of significant site and budget challenges,” she said.