The university needs $31 million to complete the construction of Buley Library, according to Bob Sheeley, associate vice president for capital budgets and facilities operations. He said Southern has approximately $16 million left over since the construction has not been completed.
The university is going to defer other projects, said Sheeley, and redirect money towards the $31 million gap. In order to do that, Sheeley said the university needs legislative approval, and the president will battle in the system office to introduce legislation for the proposal.
“For instance, we had a 450-car garage that’s been approved, that we are going to add on to Davis garage,” said Sheeley. “We have about $11.2 million for that, but we are going to do that garage later on and ask the $11.2 million be directed to the library.”
Sheeley said the department will rehire an architect to redo some plans, and he said it should happen within the next couple months. If legislation approves, said Sheeley, then the library will be ready to go out for bid.
The Farnham Hall construction is going well, according to Sheeley. He said it should be done by the end of August.
“Right now they are working on the outside exterior brick,” said Sheeley. “Much of the interior work windows have been replaced, bathrooms have been done, and they are working on the basement and also working on an outside patio area.”
Meghan Marino, director of Farnham Hall, said she is interested in how the building will look once the construction has been completed.
“Farnham Hall is the oldest residence hall on campus,” said Marino, “and the renovations to the building are very exciting.”
There are inconveniences with noise and restricted spaces, said Marino, during which construction needs to take place throughout the semester.
“We try to notify students well in advance of any major work and noise that could be more inconvenient,” said Marino.
“It’s hard to do things when you have people in buildings,” said Sheeley, “but it’s that much harder if you don’t get cooperation, but everyone has made the job much more pleasant and easier to accomplish.”
This semester, Sheeley said there are not a lot of projects going on, but he said there are projects that will begin this summer. The roof of Brownell Hall will be replaced and solar panels will be installed to produce electricity. He said he hopes the solar panels will make enough of an impact to reduce the costs of Brownell Hall.
Amber Boroski, a junior special education major, said it is a cool idea that Brownell will be going green, because even though it costs a lot to install the panels, she said in the long run electricity bills will lower.
“I care about the university going green, especially my hall,” said Boroski. “I just don’t want the construction to go on during the semesters like Farnham because it would be really annoying.”
Boroski said if the construction workers work hard enough through the summer to complete the project before the fall semester, then it would better accommodate student life in Brownell.
Recently Sheeley said he received good news that the university is on the bond for the commission agenda for the rest of the money in order to start construction of the new School of Business that he also wants to start this summer. The school will be located in the front part of the old student center, and Sheeley said the construction will take about 12 months to complete.
Sheeley said another summer project is an upgrade to the chemical and electrical systems in both Jennings and Earl Hall. He said both buildings are long overdue and phase one will begin this summer. Both projects are in the neighborhood of $4 million to $5 million each, according to Sheeley.
“The buildings are old, their systems are old and controls don’t work,” said Sheeley. “We will have better control over heating and air conditioning, and the buildings will be more comfortable for everybody.”
Sheeley said he hopes to start the Lot 7 parking garage, near Moore Field House. He said the university has a low investment bid of $15 million, when originally the estimate was $22 million.
“Now we have to go sell bonds, which will be done in February,” said Sheeley. “Once the bonds are sold we will then award the contract and hopefully begin this summer.”
The 1,200-car parking garage will take about 15 to 16 months to construct, according to Sheeley. When construction starts, he said 389 parking spots will be temporally lost.
“We are going to replace about 175 of those in a temporary surface lot that we are going to make next to Seabury Hall,” said Sheeley, “where we had a construction lay down area.”
Sheeley said Facilities Operations has worked with the Department of Environmental Protection for a temporary permit, because it is near wetlands. Since the DEP does not want any changes in the percolations of the soil, Sheeley said crushed stones will be put down.