The whir of machinery is blending with the voices of students walking to class as construction picks up at West Virginia University.
Work is literally getting hot and heavy on a new residence hall set to open in the fall, renovations to three academic buildings and more as the University expands to meet the needs of a growing student body.
A New Residential Experience
With freshman enrollment expected to top 4,600the largest everthe first of two new housing complexes, Lincoln Hall, is set to open by Aug. 18 on the Evansdale Campus.
It is named after Abraham Lincoln, who was U.S. president during the establishment of West Virginia and who signed the Morrill Land Grant College Act. The $14.5 million, 350-bed facility is home to WVU s new, innovative residential college, part of the Student Affairs 2010 Strategic Plan.
The 80,000-square-foot hall features four floors of suite-style living with a connecting bath and common area; a 50-seat theater for small classes, movies, and musical and theatrical productions; study lounges; a small library that may also double as a computer lab; and high-speed Internet connections.
Along with Resident Faculty Leaders who will reside there, the hall will feature about a dozen faculty fellows from a mix of disciplines who will teach freshman seminars. Associate members from inside and outside the University will lend their expertise to the students as well.
The philosophy underlying the mission of the residential college is that students will be known individually, and the college will nurture intellectual curiosity.
Whiting Turner of Baltimore, Md., is the contractor.
Downtown Campus Getting a Face-lift
Work on the Downtown Campus centers around renovating Oglebay, Brooks and Colson halls and upgrading infrastructure to provide air conditioning to the buildings.
The Oglebay project involves renovating the existing structure to house the popular forensic and investigative science program and constructing a 15,000-square-foot addition. The addition will include large lecture halls and feature a rooftop parking lot. The two structures will be attached by a pedestrian bridge from the parking lot to the second floor of Oglebay.
Interior work has begun on Oglebay, and excavation for the addition got under way in June, said Joe Fisher, associate vice president for facilities and services.
Oglebay Hall, built in 1918 to house WVU s agricultural program, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and contractor Massaro Corp. of Pittsburgh is making every effort to see that the renovations are consistent with the buildings architectural history, Fisher said.
The $20.7 million project is scheduled to be completed in May 2007.
Brooks Hall, built in 1951 as the biology building, is being renovated to house the Department of Geology and Geography. The 91,500-square-foot structure will feature a 350-seat lecture hall and six classrooms; a green roof employing plants to improve insulation and reduce storm water runoff; and a pedestrian bridge linking the facility to Woodburn Circle.
The interior demolition of the building has been completed, and reconstruction began in early March, Fisher said. The structural steel should be in place by the end of the month.
March-Westin of Morgantown is the contractor for the $22 million project. Scheduled completion date is May 2007.
Workers, meanwhile, have completed the interior demolition of Colson Hall, which is being renovated to house the Department of English, Fisher said.
Architects with McKinley and Associates of Wheeling have also begun designing the renovations, he added.
Reconstruction is scheduled to begin in December, with completion set for November 2007.
The downtown infrastructure project involves adding air conditioning units at the Life Sciences Building and Chemistry Research Laboratory and extending piping from those units to Oglebay, Brooks and Colson halls.
This will provide central air conditioning to these buildings, Fisher said, adding that replacing the window units will conserve energy. Wayne Crouse is the contractor for the project, which is expected to be completed in January 2007.
Evansdale, Health Sciences Campuses Going High-tech
Improvements are not limited to the Downtown Campus.
The College of Human Resources and Education has begun moving back into Allen Hall on the Evansdale campus after a $10.1 million, year-long renovation to the facility.
The newly revamped Allen Hall boasts high-tech classrooms and a substantially enlarged speech and hearing clinic that serves area youngsters.
On the health sciences campus, construction began May 1 on the $30 million laboratory and administrative building of the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute. The three-story research building will support research into diseases that result in memory loss, particularly Alzheimers disease, when it opens in spring 2008.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., founded BRNI in memory of his mother, who died of Alzheimers disease. Mosites Construction of Pittsburgh is the contractor.
Meanwhile, excavation for the Biomedical Research Laboratory Facility began this month. The building, which will house research labs and support facilities, is scheduled to be completed in spring 2008. March-Westin is the contractor for the first phase.
Work continues on the second phase of development for WVU s Research Park off Route 705, said Russ Lorince, director of economic development at WVU .
This stage involves roadway and utility work, including a four-way lighted intersection, he added.
The park will eventually house the WVU Business Incubator and space to lease, with the goal of becoming a magnet for high technology companies wanting to locate near a research university.
Sporting a New Look
WVU sports fans of all ages will enjoy the latest addition to Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium as the Donald J. Brohard Hall of Traditions opens for the 2006 season. This center will be filled with displays, photos, videos, records, information and plenty of ways for fans to connect with more than a century of Mountaineer football.
Under construction is a state-of-the-art wrestling practice facility adjacent to the Coliseum. This facility, financed partially through the Hazel Ruby McQuain Trust, will give the nationally ranked Mountaineer wrestlers an optimum training area and provide a home for a U.S. Olympic development program in the mat sport.
These projects complete the second phase of WVU s 1996 facilities master plan. The initial phase of the plan included construction of the Student Recreation Center, the Downtown Campus Library and Life Sciences Building, among others.