Facilities projects near completion

Tommy Sullivan

As the semester winds down, construction gears up for the ensuing winter break. 

Here’s how campus will look different in the coming months:

WKU will add a net gain of 500 parking spaces for students with the construction of a $10 million parking structure. 

The parking structure will be located between Creason Street and Russellville Road next to the soccer and softball stadiums.

Paperwork has been sent for a contract with THP Limited Inc., the company that will design the structure. 

The process is moving forward, said Bryan Russell, chief facilities officer.

By April, the state legislature will vote to approve whether or not WKU can sell agency bonds to fund the project. 

The bonds will be paid off through student fees of $30 per semester. Upon legislative approval, construction will begin in July and continue through the fall, Russell said.

The cost for building the parking structure is dictated by the state’s range for such projects. Therefore, WKU chose THP for the construction project based on qualifications, not cost, over two other companies, said Russell.

This is not THP’s first project at WKU. The structural engineering consulting firm has worked on the exterior designs for Cravens Graduate Center and Library and Gordon Wilson Hall and has analyzed Diddle Arena, Russell said.

For the parking structure, THP will incorporate pedestrian safety and efficiency in the design in addition to meeting the goal of 500 new parking spots, said Russell.

Ogden College of Science and Engineering is slated to have a new building by summer 2017, which is the fourth phase of its construction and renovation project. WKU has a design, and construction will go to a qualified contractor with the lowest bid, said Russell.

Belle and Associates Construction and Whittenberg Construction have submitted bids and are negotiating with WKU.

Construction will begin immediately after a firm is selected, said Russell.

After winter break, WKU students will have more dining options on campus.

Chili’s Grill & Bar will open on campus in January 2016 between the Augenstein Alumni Center and Alumni Square Garage. 

It will be Bowling Green’s first Chili’s as well as the first Chili’s on a Kentucky university’s campus, according to WKU News.

Aramark Higher Education will operate the restaurant, which will be within a building of about 7,000 square feet and have seats for 160 guests. The WKU Foundation will also develop additional space for office and retail business, according to WKU News.

WKU’s new pub, Topper Tavern and Grill, will be completed before students return for the spring semester, said Russell. The pub will be located in Garrett Conference Center.