Funding cuts causing delays for on-campus construction
At least one on-campus construction project will be delayed due to financial strain as the University faces a potential $95 million revenue loss for fiscal year 2021.
The Auxiliary Retail Center, a food hall intended to replace the Student Center Satellite, will now break ground in Summer 2021 instead of during the spring semester as previously reported, said Nick Merry, executive director of project management. Other projects will be deferred on a case-by-case basis.
“Each potential project will be evaluated on its merits as to the critical nature of the work and source of funding,” Merry said. “Those projects that can be deferred will be identified and rescheduled accordingly to manage the reduced budgets.”
The latest delay is not the first time construction on the Auxiliary Retail Center has been pushed back. The project was initially scheduled to begin in Summer 2020, but the University pushed back the groundbreaking to Spring 2021.
The delays in construction have set back the center’s opening date from 2022 to Spring 2023, UH Auxiliary Services program director Rosie Ashley previously told The Cougar.
Despite delays, construction has not stopped entirely. The University does not anticipate any delays in the construction of the UH College of Medicine or the John M. O’Quinn Law Center.
The College of Medicine, which started construction in June 2020 with an $80 million budget, is still projected for completion in Summer 2022. When done, the three-story building will feature an anatomy lab, simulation suite, innovation lab and clinical spaces.
The new $90 million John M. O’Quinn Law Center will replace the current UH Law Center facility, which has been operational for over fifty years. The five-story building will include event space, a moot courtroom and a convenience store.
The University also has big construction plans to commemorate the University’s centennial in 2027. The Centennial Plan 2027 strives to continue shifting UH from an automobile-dominated commuter campus to a pedestrian-oriented one, according to the project’s master plan.
Plans include the demolition of Farish Hall and the construction of a Centennial Court space.
The project does not have a formal schedule for construction to date, Merry said.