April 19-25, 2002
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Summer will be busy season for University construction

Miller Hall construction

Photo by Rebecca Arrington
Construction will start soon on the Special Collections Library, most of which will be underground. Its above-grade portions will replace Miller Hall (above), to be demolished in May. The $26 million project is marked for completion in June 2004.

By Matt Kelly

Builders will be busy at the University this summer.

Several projects are almost done, including additions to the Miller Center of Public Affairs and the Law School. Others, such as the new Special Collections Library and the Emmet Street parking garage, are just beginning.

One job winding down is the Monroe Lane student residence. First slated to be finished in June, a new timetable aims for July or August.

C.A. “Sack” Johannesmeyer, director of facilities planning and construction, said the delays are related to a variety of construction problems that the contractor, Beers/Skanska, has experienced, including the lack of nearby open space for a staging area.

“It’s nothing major. Construction is difficult there because there’s no space to lay anything down,” said Johannesmeyer, who said he and top Beers/Skanska officials are closely monitoring the situation.

Seventy-six students are scheduled to move in Aug. 24. The University’s Housing division has an agreement to lodge students at the Courtyard Marriot on Main Street if the building is not completed in time.

Work is near an end at two other delayed Beers/Skanska projects, at the Miller Center and the Law School.

At the Miller Center, increased library space is being added in a new wing. Contractors encountered some structural difficulties in renovating Faulkner House, the older portion of the Miller Center, said Johannesmeyer, who predicted a summer completion. At the Law School, where an addition will include a new student center and dining facility, a dispute over the quality of some of the millwork installed in the building is being resolved, he said.

Several current projects are complex for a variety of reasons, Johannesmeyer said. Clark Hall, scheduled for June completion, involves both renovation and new construction, with crews operating in a tight space. Renovations to Clark Hall are approximately 53 percent complete, with the addition 67 percent complete.

Another difficult project is the $58 million hospital expansion, slated to start in November. “With the hospital expansion, we’re building and expanding surrounded by an operating hospital,” he said. “Things like that cause concern.”

Construction is to start soon on the Special Collections Library, most of which will be underground. Its above-grade portions will replace Miller Hall, to be demolished in May. The project includes extensive excavation, with the soil hauled to fill a ravine behind the library’s auxiliary storage building on Old Ivy Road. The $26 million Special Collections Library is marked for completion in June 2004.

Also scheduled to start this summer is the 1,200-space parking garage along the railroad tracks behind the Cavalier Inn. With access from both Ivy Road and Emmet Street, the garage is intended to serve University employees and students, as well as visitors attending events at U.Va. The garage is targeted for an August 2003 opening.

Several other projects are in various stages of design and design review, including the MR-6 medical research building; an addition to Campbell Hall, the home of the School of Architecture; renovations to Fayerweather Hall; and a new studio art building. Funding for several of these projects is to be included in a $1.7 billion capital bond referendum expected in November.

Pre-design work has begun on the South Lawn Project, which encompasses renovations to Rouss and Cocke halls, construction of a building in the B1 parking lot across Jefferson Park Avenue, and the replacement of New Cabell Hall.

The McIntire School of Commerce has begun fund raising for a 100,000-square-foot building to be located off the far southeast end of the Lawn, facing Hospital Drive. Cost estimates and funding sources have not been finalized, said Colette Sheehy, vice president for management and budget.

Off Grounds, the environmental sciences department’s Eastern Shore field station had been on hold due to questions raised by a state agency. Sheehy said the University had received local approval to build the research station near the Chesapeake Bay, but the state balked, saying the building must be set back at least 100 feet from the shoreline. Sheehy said the University and the agency had compromised at a 50-foot setback.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s addition has been delayed because of uncertainty about funds.


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