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ISSUE 120 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 12/1/2006

Construction commences

By Emelie Heltsley
Staff Writer

Friday, December 1, 2006

After years of planning, preparation and anticipation, construction of the new Science Complex will begin in early January, after Friday's groundbreaking ceremony. According to Assistant Vice President for Facilities Pete Sandberg, plans for construction are ahead of schedule and, if all goes as planned, the first phase of the Complex will be completed by fall 2008.

Sandberg called the goal "ambitious but do-able."

While actual construction will not begin until Jan. 2, the groundbreaking ceremony will take place during Christmas Festival weekend, a time when many alumni and families are on campus.

The first phase of construction will include taking down the Art Barn and the Old Main Annex, as well as excavating for foundations and footings.

While the groundbreaking ceremony promises to be a popular affair, Sandberg warned eager students and faculty that the first stages of construction may not be visible.

"For the first few months, you won't see a lot coming up from the ground," he said.

Construction of the "ring road" that goes around Old Main has been the focus on campus for the past few months. This new ring road will replace the current road and parking lots between Holland Hall and Old Main. Eventually, a "green area" will be created in this space to better accommodate heavy pedestrian traffic between Old Main, the new Science Complex and Holland Hall.

"There are too many vehicles and too many students," Sandberg said about the current traffic situation.

Construction of the new road will not affect the Old Main sledding hill or campus running trails. Additionally, many plants will be transplanted from the road's construction site to other locations on campus.

Departments and organizations located in the Old Main Annex, Manitou Cottage, Flaten Hall and the Art Barn have all relocated to other locations, including Rolvaag Library, Steensland Hall and the modular village located in the Rand Hall parking lot.

Although many people were apprehensive about the move at first, they are adjusting, according to Sandberg.

"Students seem to be finding them, and that's the important thing," Sandberg said.

Steensland was equipped with new heat and air conditioning capabilities as well as new office equipment to house the Department of International and Off-Campus Studies and the Department of Asian Studies.

The modular village is equipped with telecommunications capabilities, heat and air conditioning, restrooms and office equipment.

The new Science Complex is being designed to achieve the gold rating in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The USGBC established LEED to encourage building owners to do the best they can in designing modern, sustainable buildings. The Science Complex will include the most recent "green" technology and will be one of the first gold-certified science buildings in Minnesota.

"We've been building sustainably for years," Sandberg said, expressing the desire to "push this project further."

Budgetary goals have had to be reached along with construction goals.

As of Nov. 1, $18.7 million has been raised for the Complex, exceeding the $18 million goal necessary to continue working to a Jan. 2 start of construction. $22 million is the goal for the start of the work.

Phase One of construction includes the outside building and 65 percent of the inside space. Phase One will cost approximately $44 million; $22 million is needed by January. Phase Two includes the remaining 35 percent of the inside space and is anticipated to cost $12 million. Phase Two will begin as soon as funding is available.

Student input has proven to be incredibly valuable for designers of the new Science Complex. Students have been involved in most stages of the process, and, according to Sandberg, many of their suggestions have been taken into account.

For more information about the new Science Complex, visit their website:

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