UH master plan construction to begin
Although construction for a new residnce hall has begun, students can expect more ground breaking during the semester.
The Calhoun Lofts, a new parking garage and an academic facility are all under way as part of the University’s master plan.
"The framework has received a positive response from students and faculty. It has been embraced with record donations from private donors," Associate Vice President for Facilities and Plant Operations David Irvin said. "There is a huge need to add space, bring more student housing to the campus and to improve the quality of services to the UH community."
The master plan was presented in 2003 and approved by the Board of Regents in 2006 as a 20-year campus improvement process.
The budget is approximately $140 million and will increase to approximately $250 million during the next five years, Irvin said, and is mostly financed by contributions from private and corporate donors, architecture firms, state funds and resident bonds. The bonds used to pay for the Calhoun Lofts will be repaid over the next 30 years through the housing fees of the students who will live there.
A representative of the architecture firm behind the lofts, however, said that students will reap benefits in numerous ways.
"The construction itself doesn’t really bother me… but if the tuition increase is tied to this, it puts me and many others in a financially tough situation," biology sophomore Adrian Ferrari said.
"The Calhoun Lofts†will be a mixture of housing and retail -the first floor will have potential for a restaurant and retail stores for the entire campus to use," said Wes Goode of the Kirksey architectural firm.
The master plan also includes the new Cemo Lecture Hall and Academic Center slated for construction early next year. The hall will contain a 450-seat auditorium, three 80-seat classrooms and will be an energy efficient building.
"The design will be designed to save water, use less energy and utilize native plants that are drought tolerant," said Kimberly Hickson, the head architect of Berekebile Nelson Immenschuh and McDowell firm.
If a new parking garage is approved, it will be located on Calhoun Street with 1,000 spaces.
"I think construction would affect me and other students because it might block some of our routes and parking," said architecture junior Zachary Aeschleman.
"But in the long run if it’s going to provide better facilities and more parking, I wouldn’t mind a few months of construction."