Nearly $50 million in construction projects moving forward at Southeastern
Contact: Rene Abadie
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Southeastern’s Student Union to Undergo Expansion – An artist’s rendering depicts the north side of the Southeastern Louisiana University War Memorial Student Union, which will undergo a major expansion and renovation early next year. The $32 million project will involve approximately 90,000 square feet of renovated space and the construction of 90,000 square feet of new space.
HAMMOND - As students begin a new academic year at Southeastern Louisiana University, nearly $50 million in construction and renovation projects are nearing completion or gearing up to start on the Hammond campus.
Construction is winding down on the university’s $13 million addition to its Kinesiology and Health Studies Building, while new projects totaling nearly $36 million are set to start in coming months to address deferred maintenance issues and upgrade existing structures.
When completed in October, the $13 addition and renovation to kinesiology will allow the School of Nursing to move its faculty offices and specialized classrooms and labs into the addition in October. New classrooms will go into use in the spring semester.
“This has been a long overdue and much needed project,” said President John L. Crain. “The nursing program has been housed in Mims Hall, a former dormitory built in 1948. The new facility will greatly improve the teaching environment for one of our strongest and most recognized programs.”
Crain said the addition has been in the planning stages for nearly a decade, and has gradually moved up the state’s priority list for capital outlay projects. The state’s capital outlay budget is different from the general operating budget, which has seen significant cuts over the past several years, he explained. Under the capital outlay process, state institutions submit proposals that must undergo prioritization by the university’s management board and the Board of Regents.
Moving the nursing program to new quarters will allow Mims Hall to undergo major mechanical renovations using approximately $980,000 in federal stimulus funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Director of Facilities Planning Ken Howe said the work will include removal of window air conditioning units and radiator stacks and installation of central air conditioning and heating.
“It will make Mims Hall a much more pleasant and energy efficient facility,” he said.
The project is expected to be completed by April 2012, at which time the offices of the Division of Student Affairs – now located in the War Memorial Student Union – will be moved temporarily into the building.
The Student Union itself is slated to undergo major renovations and additions starting in January. In three phases of construction that will span over two and a half years, the Student Union will be significantly renovated.
The project will include about 90,000 square feet of renovation and the construction of 90,000 square feet of new space, Howe explained. Architects for the project are Holly and Smith of Hammond and WTW of Pittsburgh, a firm specializing in the design of university student union facilities.
“The project will change the dynamics of the campus,” Howe said. “It creates a ‘fourth wall’ of a quad that includes the library, D Vickers Hall and Fayard Hall, with the Katrina-Rita Memorial Fountain becoming the central focus.”
With a total cost of $32 million, the project is being funded largely by a self-assessed student fee and through funds obtained from participating commercial partners, such as food and other vendors.
In addition, campus deferred maintenance projects that are currently ongoing or scheduled to begin in the near future include:
-- University Center, $1.8 million: major heating and air conditioning work, including replacement of the chiller, boiler, control systems, ductwork, and insulation and piping that is expected to be completed in the fall;
-- White Hall classroom building, $453,000: heating and air conditioning upgrades expected to start upon delivery of equipment;
-- Dyson Hall administrative building, $555,000: replace and upgrade heating and air conditioning systems, waiting on bid process later in the fall.