UO's proposals for new facilities not without opposition
The University of Oregon is planning to build a new residence hall and softball stadium in the next few years to cope with a bump in student enrollment.
The 1,500-seat Jane Sanders Softball Stadium will be at Howe Field, between Eugene Pioneer Cemetery and Hayward Field.
A $10 million gift from Robert Sanders, a former fullback for the UO football team, pushed the development into place. In October, the university chose Portland-based architecture firm SRG to design the stadium. The construction will begin after this year’s softball season.
According to the softball field’s project planner, Phil Farrington, Sanders Stadium is intended to create more opportunity for students to attend and participate in UO softball events, Farrington said.
The housing project, which is currently a parking lot, is also underway in East Campus, next to the Many Nations Longhouse and Vivian Olum Child Development Center.
Over fall term, the site selection for these projects were part of the UO Campus Framework Vision Project. The new residence hall stirred up some conflict during the site selection process — which included taking opinions from campus advisory groups, public interest gages, expert analysis and approval of the President — due to its lack of a dining hall.
UO Housing Director Michael Griffel said the lack of a dining hall will not be a problem.
“Global Scholars dining hall was built with a lot of capacity… about 900 to 1,000 people,” Griffel said. “The pathway (from the new residence hall) will be designed so that students will have easy access to campus and neighbors.”
The construction for the residence hall starts in January 2016 and its projected date of completion is fall 2017. The development will be paid through room and board fees.
Griffel said that affordability is something UO Housing is always working to achieve, but as expenses go up, freshmen will pay more to live on campus in the future.
The Olum Child Center voiced another concern with the residence hall. With 109 kids enrolled all year-round, director Amy Ripley said the housing project will change the neighborhood drastically, especially when the parking lot is taken away.
“Parking spaces have always been a problem,” Ripley said. “I hope they will replace parking spots in proximity. I’d worry if my staff get off work when it’s dark out and have to walk across campus to their cars.”
The university has not come up with a solution for the lost parking spaces, Farrington said. According to Ripley, the university has kept them informed of the process.
The Vision Project is the supplement to the campus plan, a more specific study about campus landscape to accommodate future growth and maintain aesthetic elements. The project started early summer 2014. Other plans for development include the addition of a new science building.
The campus plan will also try to tackle issues such as traffic flow around the university and work to utilizing the UO-owned land along the Willamette River.
“With 25,000 students on campus, UO doesn’t feel like that big of a campus,” Farrington said. “We want to maintain and enhance the open spaces as future buildings should be able to relate to those. ”
In February, FVP will hold two open houses for public interest. An online survey is also available on their webpage.
Open House hours:
-Feb. 16 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Ford Alumni Center.
-Feb. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Gerlinger Lounge.
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