Construction projects make progress over the summer

The President’s house, located on Chestnut St., is being renovated over the summer. The renovations include fixing the columns outside the house. Rebekah Alvey/ Herald

Rebekah Alvey

During the summer term, several necessary construction projects are being completed throughout campus in an attempt to cause the least amount of disturbance to the university.

Bryan Russell, chief facilities officer, explained that there are several large and small construction projects to look out for. Russell said summer is the best time to complete the bulk of maintenance because there are fewer students on campus.

A larger project started this summer is renovations on the president’s house which is located on Chestnut St.. President Gary Ransdell and Julie Ransdell lived in this house throughout their 20 year tenure. Russell said the house was built in 1958 and has only had minor repairs until this year.

“The house needed renovations,” Russell said.

Some of the repairs include a new roof, hardwood floors, windows, columns outside the house, air conditioning and heating system, carpet, exterior paint and a modernized kitchen. Russell said the construction was purely “maintenance driven” and incoming President Tim Caboni left all decision making on renovations up to facilities.

Russell said everything is going well with the renovations. Russell explained that the intensive project cost a little over $200,000 but was funded primarily through private gifts. Renovations started after Gary and Julie Ransdell moved out and is expected to finish before Tim and his wife Kacey Caboni move in on June 23.

Another large project is the creation of PS3, which will be located in the back of Creason lot. Construction began in September and Russell said is still on schedule. The structure will be six stories and will provide an additional 500 parking spaces to campus.

Russell said that all of the concrete structure is in place for PS3 and workers will begin building the elevator and stair part of the garage. The project is scheduled to be completed in September. Russell said WKU is also working on Creason lot and improving traffic flow throughout construction.

Russell said a large crane will be outside Pearce Ford Tower by the end of May working on high voltage projects. Russell explained that WKU is in the last phase of improving the campus electrical system.

Before construction started, multiple buildings were operating under one switch or electrical unit which Russell said was inefficient. Two years ago one cable went out which caused power to go out in multiple buildings, including residence halls.

Russell explained the new electrical system has every building on one switch so if another cable goes out, the issue can be isolated. Russell expected this project to be completed by June.

Russell said there are several minor projects that are regularly scheduled maintenance. Some of these minor projects include repairs on Parking Structures one and two, storm water replacement by Knicely Center, parking expansion at the Medical Center and water lines and meters being replaced campus wide.

Russell explained that many of these projects are being done to accommodate for more people or to preserve the functionality of campus. Russell said that transportation services sent out an email warning those still on campus about construction.

“Most of these are things students and faculty can work around,” Russell said.

Russell explained that the university tries to schedule these projects when the least amount of students are around. He said people come back in the fall and usually don’t know construction has happened.

“It’s seamless for university operations,” Russell said.  

Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].