History in the Making

UH Builds a Tier One University One Brick at a Time.

by Mike Emery

Teeba RoseWhen you notice all of the construction in progress at the University of Houston, you’re witnessing history in the making.

UH is building a bigger, better university for current students and tomorrow’s scholars. In doing so, the campus is undergoing the most construction in its 84-year history. When all current and approved projects are wrapped up, UH facilities will total more than 12 million square feet.

From research facilities to residence halls, the campus landscape is changing rapidly. Contributing to this growth has been the university’s Tier One designation from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

“Right now, it’s imperative that UH maintain its momentum,” said Dave Irvin, associate vice president of plant operations. “We’re doing that by adding new facilities that support the university’s Tier One initiatives. These include new buildings and spaces for instruction, research, culture and recreation — some of the elements that define a Tier One institution.”

In building a Tier One university, Irvin added that now is the best time to do so. Construction costs during the 2010–2011 academic year have been historically low, and the university has capitalized on a host of economical opportunities.

“Right now, we can build new facilities much more efficiently and more economically than we would be able to do next year,” Irvin said. “We’re able to add more amenities to various projects and still remain under budget. This allows us to put facilities in place that will position the university for future growth.”

The following is a breakdown of projects under construction, in the design phase and in the planning stages.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

UH HILTON HOTEL RENOVATIONS: Renovations are being made to teaching facilities, public areas and building infrastructure, as well as structural upgrades. The project will be completed by September 2011. Cost: $13.6 million

UH Hilton Hotel RoomCENTRAL PLANT EXPANSION: This project includes the replacement of two boilers, a chiller and chilling towers. It also modifies existing boilers and pipes, electrical and controls system. The enhanced plant is estimated to reduce energy costs by 3 to 4 percent and will reduce emissions by 90 percent. The project is scheduled to be completed by September 2013. Cost: $38.5 million

LAMAR FLEMING JR. BUILDING ADDITION: This project creates 20,000 square feet of research space to be used by the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The project is scheduled to be substantially completed by the fall semester and will open for classes in January 2012. Cost: $31.2 million

CEMO HALL CONSTRUCTION: This 34,000-square-foot facility will be used by the C.T. Bauer College of Business. It will contain a 400-seat lecture hall, three 80-seat classrooms, a career center and office space. This project is scheduled to be completed by June 2011. Cost: $10.6 million

SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING RESEARCH CENTER (SERC) BUILD OUT (PHASE 3): This project completes half of the third and fifth floors and increases HVAC capacity. The project covers 20,000 square feet. It is scheduled to be completed this semester. Cost: $12 million

SCIENCE & RESEARCH 1 SAFETY UPGRADES: This project includes the installation of a stair pressurization system, a fire sprinkler system and the chilled water and fan coil unit. It also includes the replacement of a domestic fire storage tank and fire alarm system and updating the elevators. It is scheduled to be completed in summer 2012. Cost: $14.6 million

ENERGY RESEARCH PARK – PETROLEUM ENGINEERING BUILDING: This project will renovate Building 9 for future use as the site’s Petroleum Engineering Research Center. It is scheduled to be completed this semester. Cost: $5.1 million

Energy Research parkENERGY RESEARCH PARK – ADMINISTRATION BUILDING: This project will renovate Building 4 for future use as the site’s administrative offices. It is scheduled to be completed by June 2011. Cost: $3.7 million

ENERGY RESEARCH PARK SITE IMPROVEMENTS: This project will enhance the facility’s parking, lighting, security, signage and streets. It is scheduled to be completed by June 2011. Cost: $2 million

CONSTRUCTION OF THE LANCE T. FUNSTON CENTER AT THE JACK J. VALENTI SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION: The project will add 4,875 square feet to the existing School of Communication, including a production studio. Also, renovations are being made to 14,000 square feet of existing space (classrooms, studio support facilities, storage and offices). It is scheduled to be completed by the start of the fall semester. Cost: $3.6 million

PROJECTS IN DESIGN PHASE

HEALTH AND BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES BUILDING: This new 167,000-square-foot facility will be at Wheeler Avenue and Calhoun Road near the College of Optometry. It will include an ambulatory surgical center, laser center, labs, offices and will house UH’s Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics. The project is scheduled to be completed by January 2013. Cost: $70 million

East Parking GarageCLASSROOM AND BUSINESS BUILDING: A three-story, 140,000-square-foot facility will house business classrooms, offices, space for student organizations and other amenities. The project is scheduled to be completed by fall 2012. Cost: $41 million

STADIUM PARKING GARAGE: This 2,400-space garage will include 10,000 square feet of space for mixed use. Its estimated completion date is summer 2012. Cost: $26 million

SERC BUILD OUT (PHASE 4): This project will build out the building’s second and third floors. The project is scheduled to be completed this semester. Cost: $15 million

BLAFFER ART MUSEUM: Exterior improvements will be made to the Fine Arts courtyard and landscaping, and a visitor drop-off area will be created along the nearby curb. Additionally, a new north entry will be created and the museum’s interior will be renovated. Cost: $2 million


“Right now, it’s imperative that UH maintain its momentum.
We’re doing that by adding new facilities that support the university’s Tier One initiatives.”
-- Dave Irvin
associate vice president of plant operations


PLANNED PROJECTS

UNIVERSITY CENTER EXPANSION AND RENOVATION: This project will provide a major face-lift to the facility that serves as the “living room” of the university. It covers renovations to the existing 246,000-square-feet facility and includes two building additions. One addition will add an east wing to the existing building to accommodate new dining and retail facilities. The other addition will create additional space for student organizations by adding another floor and new entrance over the existing UC Underground. Construction will begin next summer. Cost: $80 million

LAMAR FLEMING JR. BUILDING: This renovation will upgrade labs and teaching facilities. Cost: $7.9 million

SCIENCE BUILDING RENOVATION: A renovation to this facility will transform it into a classroom building for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Cost: $3.3 million

WEST DINING FACILITY: A new 25,000-square-foot dining hall will replace the cafeteria in Oberholtzer Hall to serve the west portion of campus and residents in the Quadrangle and Cougar Place residence halls. Its budget is to be determined, but the project would begin next year and open in fall 2012.

Serc BuildingSOPHOMORE HOUSING: An 800-bed housing complex will replace Cougar Place, currently located at Wheeler Avenue and Cullen Boulevard. Its budget is still to be determined, but the project would begin next year and open no later than fall 2013.

FAMILY HOUSING/CHILDCARE CENTER: A new 400-unit apartment complex along Martin Luther King Boulevard across from MacGregor Park will provide campus housing for families and married students. The facility also will contain a childcare center. Its budget and schedule are to be determined.

MOODY TOWERS RENOVATION: This summer, UH’s high-rise residence hall will receive upgrades to its rooms, furniture, lounge areas and bathroom facilities. Elevators will be renovated and wireless Internet connections will be expanded. Renovations are scheduled to be completed by fall 2012. Cost: $3 million

QUADRANGLE RENOVATION: This summer, these residence halls will receive upgrades to their rooms, lounge areas and bathroom facilities. Elevators will be renovated and wireless Internet connections will be expanded. Cost: $2 million

Faculty, staff and students can track the progress of construction projects on the Office of Administration and Finance website (under Construction Project Summaries - www.uh.edu/af/constructionprojects.htm).

Calhoun Lofts