UH on UC renovations: More building for the dollar

Renovations to the University Center will include a new food court, lounge spaces and an organization center. There will also be an additional 60,000 square feet. | Courtesy of

Renovations for the New University Center are now expected to cost less and be done quicker according to the projects committee members. 

“Last November (after) working with Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance Carl Carlucci, we realized an opportunity to take advantage of the low interest rates in the bond market,” UC 2010 Initiative Co-Chairperson Nicole Sopko said.

Initially called “the UC 2010” the plan details the remodeling and addition to the University Center.

“The initial project called for a three-phased renovation and reconfiguration of space within the existing footprint of the UC building, which is what the students and SGA approved funding for and at the time was deemed most cost effective,” Sopko said.

Construction is set to begin in May 2011 and be completed May 2014.  The cost of the UC to be renovated, as of now, is $99, 997,213.  

Sopko also said the reason why construction time was shortened was to reduce cost.

“Phasing a construction project is expensive and time consuming,” she said. “The change in the project calls for building an expansion first, which can be used as a swing space while renovating other spaces, thereby allowing us to speed construction by consolidating phases from three to two phases.”

Sopko also said that with the change, student fees will decrease to $135 from $150.  

Some students like the idea that the renovation will cost less due to the economy and tuition going up.

“I think it’s great [that it will cost less], especially during these hard times and it’s being constructed more efficiently and we are getting more for our money,” mathematics junior Daniel Ortiz said.

Art History graduate student Rachel Nordt likes the idea that it will cost less, but she is more excited about having a bigger UC.

“I thought it would be a good thing for students and they said it wouldn’t increase our fees that much so I didn’t see why not,” Nordt said. “It sucks that I won’t get to enjoy the final product, but it’s still a nice thing.”

Sopko also said the plans for the UC also include additional square footage, for a bigger bookstore, a new ballroom and theater.

The student publications office is also expected to move to the new UC once completed.  The Daily Cougar and Houstonian offices have recently been moved to the University Center Satellite from the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication building.

No reason has been given as to why they have decided to move the offices again.

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