Major construction projects at the University of Idaho are on schedule, and many repairs and renovations are scheduled for this summer.
Assistant Vice President for facilities, Brian Johnson, said the fence around the College of Education will come down within a few weeks and said he tentatively expects the Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC) to finish construction around October. He said there will be repairs and renovations made to some streets and parking lots around campus, and even to the Administration Building main staircase.
Johnson said the College of Education building has been vacant two years, and now the goal is to move Education faculty into the building over the summer. He said it is on track to hold classes in the fall semester of 2016.
“That unit is eager to get back into those spaces,” Johnson said.
Johnson said general education courses will also be held in the building, which means a wide array of campus students will be able to see the new space.
“It”s quite a transformation from a rather dark and aged, gloomy structure to a very bright and vibrant and modern-looking facility,” Johnson said.
Stuart Robb, Parking and Transportation Services field supervisor, said the temporary construction road extending from the lot near Memorial Gym to the College of Education will be removed once the remodel completes and will be recycled for another project.
Johnson said the IRIC is on schedule to be completed around October. He said building systems testing, commissioning and equipment move-in will take place after the construction is completed and said the building is set to have units move in as soon as January of 2017.
Johnson said the fences around the College of Education and IRIC will come down over the summer and fall.
“As the construction winds down it gets to the point where it”s appropriate for the construction fence to come down and there is more public access to the site,” Johnson said.
He said there will be new plants around the IRIC, and that the building has elements of a green roof, which he said were plants growing on the roof in trays.
Across campus, Johnson said there will be safety improvement renovations in the Administration Building taking place over the summer. The handrails in the main stair are too low, Johnson said, and the width between the bannister supports is too large to meet modern code requirements. He said those codes didn”t exist when the structure was built.
He said the building is on the National Register of Historic Places but repairs and renovations have been done to the building which he said were not in accordance with the historic nature of the building.
“Over time, and it”s going to take decades, elements are going to be corrected and restored to their historic nature. Improving functionality and correcting deficiencies along the way,” Johnson said.
Johnson said there is a variety of minor repairs for parking lot and street surfaces scheduled to take place over the summer as well. He said the repairs and closures can take as little as a few hours but more intensive projects may take longer. He said the rebuilding of lot 39, behind Memorial Gym and the Physical Education Building, could take a couple of days.
Robb said there will be a few minor closures related to maintenance. He said lot 14 by the power plant will be closed for about a week for minor repaving and bumper straightening beginning the week of May 23. He said sections of Perimeter Drive and Rayburn Street will undergo resurfacing in late June or early July.
“The big push is to try and get everything done before students return to campus,” Robb said. “We”ve got three months to do 12 months of work.”
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