Campus construction set to continue for several years
Students and faculty can expect the early morning soundtrack of birds chirping and the jarring sounds of heavy construction work for several more years.
Lawmakers recently committed $37 million toward three large campus projects. This includes the construction of a new College and Careers building in the heart of campus, and major renovations to the outdated Klamath and Chapman halls.
Though the location of the College and Careers building has not been finalized, the structure will be home to the College and Career Center along with the College of Arts and Sciences. With more than sixty percent of students enrolled in a degree program within the CAS, many UO students will benefit from the creation of the 50,000 square feet of new classrooms and office space.
“Personally, I’m looking forward to learning how academic spaces catalyze inspiration and collaboration, and working to plan this building with the people who will inhabit those spaces and make them their own,” said Associate Dean for Undergrad Education at CAS Ian McNeely via email.
With a $17 million award toward the $34.3 million cost of the new building, construction is set to begin in the summer of 2016.
Additionally, the dated and historic Chapman Hall was awarded $8.2 million toward the $10.7 million cost of a thorough remodel. Home to the Robert D. Clark Honors College, the building was formerly the site of the UO bookstore. Due to this history, the building can be difficult to navigate and lacks an internal staircase connecting all floors.
The renovation will fortify the building for seismic activity and renovate its interior to modern standards and levels of technology.
“This is a beautiful building, but it is critical that we modernize it and take care of the deferred maintenance and overdue seismic upgrade issues,” said Honors College Director of Development Jennifer Parker via email.
Construction will also provide more immediate benefits for students, including the creation of a permanent thesis defense room, along with a hearth and lounge.
“The Clark Honors College is growing and we want to meet the needs of our current and incoming students,” said Parker.
Chapman Hall renovations are set to begin in late 2015.
A short walk down 13th Avenue, chemistry majors can look forward to the $12.4 million in bonds that was awarded toward the $18.7 million Klamath Hall renovation.
The construction will address safety issues pertaining to the outdated synthetic chemistry labs on the third floor of Klamath Hall and the fourth floor of Onyx Bridge. A fourth floor will also be added for office space that was formerly housed on the third floor; while the third floor will be gutted and rebuilt into efficient wet lab space.
Mike Haley is the former department head of chemistry and biochemistry at the UO. Haley wrote the proposal for Klamath’s renovation roughly 16 months ago, and is eager for the space to be overhauled.
“In the past, we have lost graduate students and a potential faculty member to other schools due to our outdated labs,” said Haley. “This will allow us to recruit and retain top students and faculty.”
Haley cited the importance of state-of-the-art labs in providing a productive work environment.
“It shouldn’t matter what a lab looks like, but the reality is that if you’re in a shiny new lab you’re going to like coming to work every day, and you’re absolutely going to increase productivity as a whole,” said Haley.
As for what he’s looking forward to in the future, Haley spoke of the potential growth within the department as a whole.
“For the next couple years I look forward to seeing the building,” said Haley. “I look forward to moving in to the labs and seeing how things take off with hiring faculty and graduate students.”
Construction on Klamath Hall is set to begin in the summer of 2016.
Follow Shelby Chapman on Twitter @ShelbyEm15.