UH Makes Progress on Construction Projects

May 27, 2008

Growing minds is one of the University of Houston’s primary goals, but to do so effectively, it must also grow its campus.

UH has consistently expanded its campus to better accommodate its students and research efforts. Over the summer, a number of projects will continue this trend.

One of the most anticipated new structures at UH is Calhoun Lofts, which will provide apartment housing for graduate and professional students. The 552,000-square-foot facility, which is budgeted at $107 million, is one of the earliest projects related to the UH Framework Plan that is guiding the campus’ expansion. Construction began in August 2007 and will continue through July 2009.

“Concrete is still being poured to define this structure, and it stands at about four stories now,” said Dave Irvin, associate vice president for plant operations. “The campus community should be able to see this building really start to grow by the start of fall.”

In June, ground will break on another major campus addition, the 33,000-square-foot Michael J. Cemo Hall. Construction is scheduled to begin in May 2008 and will be completed by July 2009. Located just north of the University Center, the site for Cemo Hall is currently fenced off for the safety of the campus community.

Across the street from Calhoun Lofts and Cemo Hall will be the site for the planned East Garage. A design-build team for this parking facility will be selected in June, and construction is scheduled to begin by August. The 900-space garage will provide parking for Calhoun Lofts residents, commuter students and visitors. It is scheduled to open by July 2009.

“We will look at proposals from five contractor-architect teams. These proposals would include construction specs, budgets and details on how traffic would enter and exit the facility,” Irvin said.

Another significant summer construction project is the renovation of the Hilton University of Houston Hotel's garage. Included will be repairs to the underground garage that sustained water damage during Tropical Storm Allison. Irvin said concrete slabs that pave the garage were weighted down by massive amounts of rain water. Once the garage dried out, the slabs began to protrude leaving areas of the garage without enough clearance for parking. Garage repairs will begin this month and are scheduled to be completed by August.

“We’ll remove the sections of slab that expanded after the water was removed, as well as the soil, so we can make sure the whole garage is usable,” he said.

During these repairs, the garage's lower level will be closed. Guest parking will be available on the garage's upper level on a first-come, first-served basis. The hotel’s guests also will be able to park in the neighboring Welcome Center’s parking garage. Repairs to the hotel garage are expected to be complete by August.

As work on the Hilton begins, labs for the Science and Engineering Research Complex are being designed. In July, equipment for these labs will be ordered, and construction on these facilities is scheduled to begin in December. The entire project is scheduled to be complete by December 2009. SERC’s offices, classrooms and public spaces are already complete. Only lab construction remains.

Mike Emery