Campus projects in progress, behind schedule

Starbucks, Seattle’s Best Coffee and new walkways are all new developments on campus that opened to students this semester, and there are several more projects still in progress or waiting for approval.

According to Scott Charmack, associate vice president of Physical Planning and Facilities Management, the campus is trying to create more pleasant spaces for students to use. Potential additions include a new science building to replace Peterson Hall 3, new liberal arts buildings, more parking structures, an increase in the amount of on-campus student housing and more campus dining facilities.

One item on the campus development to-do list is new parking structures. Charmack said there is room for three more structures but, because money to build new parking structures is not provided by the state, the funds would have to come from student fees.

“The beginning of the semester is peak parking time,” Charmack said. “If we were to build to our peak, we would need a new parking structure, but throughout the rest of the semester, it’s not as much of a problem.”

According to Charmack, Lot 11 (north on Palo Verde by the other new parking structure), Lot 14 (between the Parkside Commons residence halls and the first parking structure) and Lot 7 (near the intersection of 7th Street and East Campus Drive) are all potential places for the new parking structures to accommodate the increasing campus population.

Students have the opportunity at the end of the month to decide whether or not they want to include a recreation center on campus. Charmack said that, if the plans for the recreation center go through, it will bring about big changes to the campus as well.

Other plans include replacing Peterson Hall 3 with a new science building. The new building would encompass about 160,000 square feet, comparable to the Molecular and Life Sciences Center.

Charmack said that, in addition, plans are on the drawing board to replace Peterson Halls 1 and 2 with two new liberal arts buildings that would both measure about 160,000 square feet. He said the requests for qualifications are being sent in this week for approval.

Students living on campus saw the effects of the university’s plans for improvement with the opening of two new coffeehouses in the dorms last Monday, but Charmack said there are more plans on the way.

“These plans double the number of student housing available to roughly 4,000 and include new dining halls with space above it,” Charmack said. “None of the plans include high-rise buildings.”

One development nearing completion is the Pedestrian Walkway by the Vivian Engineering, SSPA and Physical Education buildings.

Charmack said the current construction of the library is behind schedule, but should be completed by December 2007 or January 2008.

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