The University of Findlay campus looks and sounds a lot different these days – steel beams are visible from many locations, demolition work and foundation building are progressing and streets are occasionally blocked for utility upgrades.
Scheduled to open about one year from now, on Aug. 1, 2017, the Center for Student Life and College of Business Building is already attracting attention. An abundance of dry summer weather also means construction is just ahead of schedule.
“When we’re finished with this building, it’s really going to pull this campus together and be beautiful,” said Myreon Cobb, UF’s Physical Plant director, during an interview with The Courier (reporter Danae King’s story, with video, can be accessed here: http://thecourier.com/local-news/2016/08/02/uf-construction-work-advancing/) “From a customer’s point of view, if you’re standing in the cul-de-sac by the Virginia B. Gardner Fine Arts Pavilion, it’s going to make a big difference. It’ll look less residential, and more academic,” he said.
Work began in March, and the five acres involved has rapidly changed. Currently there are between 35 and 40 workers on site on any given work day. Six houses that used to accommodate students, faculty and staff office and living space were razed. A total of 18 will come down during the three-phase project. Relocations have necessitated renovations to other University-owned homes, and are clearing the way for natural gas, waterline and electrical work to accommodate generators in the new 75,000-square-foot Center and higher capacity gas and water lines to the adjacent Davis Street Building.
Cobb referred to the future building as “state-of-the-art.” It will feature several glass-enclosed classrooms and workspaces, he said. “Everything about it (building) will be airy and clean.” Outside will be welcoming green space, and clear sight lines thanks to buried power lines.
Plumbing work will be commencing below ground, and concrete work will soon start at ground level.
Cobb is eager to welcome the shift in classrooms, faculty and staff to the new building next year. The College of Business will be the most overt location change, which will open up rooms in Old Main. “It’ll provide us with classroom space we desperately need right now,” he said. “We’re at the edge of the envelope when it comes to classroom space.”
Contracts with local firms are also points of pride. The University is working with Alvada Construction, Gosche Putnam Masonry, Jacks Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing, Inc., Vaughn Industries and New Riegel-based Clouse Construction. “They’re all excellent contractors who have a lot of pride in the community,” said Cobb.
Columbus firms that were hired include M&A and Ruscilli, the latter of which also served as the general contractor for the Koehler Fitness and Recreation Complex build, and which is owned by a UF alumnus.
The total project budget, inside and outside of the center, is estimated at $23 million. “But that’s not tied down yet,” said Cobb. “It’s a good project, we’re on schedule, and we’re at least going to come in on budget,” if not under it, he maintained.