by Jan K. Allen
SBJ Contributing Writer
Several projects have recently been completed at SMS, others are under way and several more are planned for the near future.
The Public Affairs Classroom Building, located on the southwest side of the campus, opened this summer and is in use for scheduled classes this fall, according to Doug Sampson, superintendent of design and construction at the university.
The 150,000-square-foot building, a $20 million-plus project, was designed by Hastings and Chivetta, Architects, and built by the Wirt Development Company.
Phase I of the Forsythe Athletic Center was also completed this summer in time for fall activities, Sampson stated. MECO Systems was the contractor on the $2.5 million project, with Gaskin-Hill-Norcross Architects doing the design work.
Renovation and expansion of Karls Hall, the agriculture building, was also complete this summer. The $5 million project added 20,000 square feet of classroom area to the facility. Cannon was the architectural firm on the project, with DeWitt & Associates acting as contractor.
The Greenwood Laboratory School recently received $2 million in improvements to its mechanical systems, plus new windows.
Off the main campus, the $750,000 Faurot Hall project at the Mountain Grove campus was recently completed by MECO Systems. Classes will begin in the new facility in January.
DeWitt & Associates is currently working on the $12 million renovation of the Student Union. The food court is continuing operations while construction is in progress. The new food service area on the north end of the building is scheduled to be complete in January. Butler Rosenbury & Partners Inc. is working jointly with C. Warren Bates Jr. & Associates as architects on the project, Sampson said.
Also in progress, a 10,000-square-foot Child Development Center is being added to the newly renovated Professional Building at the northeast corner of Kimbrough and Cherry. A $7 million face lift to the landmark building was completed in 1997.
Meanwhile, across the street, at the southeast corner of Kimbrough and Cherry, a $3 million, 22,000-square-foot physical therapy and physician assistant training center has begun construction.
SMSU has spent more than half a million dollars in recent months on bikeways, pedestrian walkways and shuttle surfaces. In the next few months, school officials plan to spend another $500,000 developing green space where students can play softball, soccer and other team sports, Sampson said.
Government red tape has put a hold on funding for the planned $25 million renovation and expansion of the Meyer Library. The governor has held up funds pending the settlement of a lawsuit, Sampson said.
"This is one of our more exciting projects, and we will move forward when the issues are resolved," he said.
The school has received initial funding for another multimillion dollar project, the addition of a new, multilevel park-and-ride facility to be situated between Clay and Holland avenues near the Public Affairs Building. Plans are on the table, and continuation of the project depends on further funding, Sampson said.
Funds have been set aside and work is under way on a downtown parking lot, located on the site which was once home to the Colonial Hotel. The surface lot, primarily for university use, will have bike racks and landscaping. Completion is scheduled for the end of this year.
"The university has a real need for parking in that area," Sampson said.
SMSU will lease the building now under construction at the corner of Walnut and Jefferson as an Art Exhibition Center, he added. The structure that once stood on that site burned down earlier this year.
The university plans to work in cooperation with the city on a water retention project, making use of some of the school-owned properties southwest of the campus, according to Kent Thomas, vice president of administrative services.
To the northwest, Thomas envisions a corridor, blending community- and college-use facilities, linking the area between the Alumni Center on South Jefferson and the Professional Building on South Kimbrough. Additionally, plans are in the works to renovate the aging underground infrastructure on campus in the near future, Thomas stated.
Of the works recently completed and in progress, Thomas said, "We've had a lot of cooperation among the architects, contractors and sub-contractors, and businesses in the community."
He added, "We are very grateful for private and state funds, which help us to move forward."
The university's leaders want to blend campus facilities with the surrounding community, and link traditional and nontraditional student endeavors to promote not only academic achievement, but also community involvement.
"We want to be a good neighbor," Sampson said.
This artist's rendering shows the building, that will house programs in physical therapy and health care. It is being built at the corner of Cherry and Kimbrough.[[In-content Ad]]
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