Progress on campus construction continues

Caitlin Carter

As many students prepare to slow down for the upcoming weeks, plans for campus construction will be moving full speed ahead.

Energy Savings Performance Project


Last year, WKU entered into a $9.7 million contract with Johnson Controls to make energy-efficient improvements in facilities across campus, said Dale Dyer, plant operations manager for Facilities Management.

More than $1 million will be saved in utilities annually once the project is finished, and the entire project will be paid back by these savings over a period of 15 years, Dyer said.

Since last year, about 65 percent of the contract has been completed, he said.

More improvements to come include retro-fitting more “green” lighting fixtures in facilities across campus, Dyer said.

DUC Renovations

Officials have been discussing a plan to completely renovate Downing University Center, said Bryan Russell, director of Planning, Design and Construction. The project, funded partially through agency bonds, will cost up to $49 million.

Beginning next fall, students would pay about $140 extra per year in fees, for a period of up to 20 years, to help fund the project, Russell said.

At an SGA meeting last month, President Gary Ransdell and head architect Jeff Stivers said SGA and students campus-wide will play an important role in DUC’s renovation, not only in terms of funding.

“Students will be involved in every decision and directly engaged in the project,” Ransdell said.

Meetings and forums will be arranged for the WKU community to discuss what is wanted and needed in the improved DUC, Stivers said.

At Tuesday’s SGA meeting, the senate voted to table the resolution to support the DUC renovation project until next semester, citing that there wasn’t enough student input at the moment.

Science Campus renovation

Once WKU receives state funding, renovation can begin on the Thompson Complex Center Wing, Thompson Complex North Wing and Hardin Planetarium, Russell said.

The project has been designed and project consultants have been chosen, Russell said.

Russell said these renovations are the top priority on WKU’s six-year capital plan.

International Programs Facility

After demolishing buildings in the old Colonial Courts area for the International Programs Facility, the project was changed, Russell said.

The plans now are to build a facility that will house both the Honors College and International Programs in the future, he said.

“We have 205 acres, but only a few more places for good building sites,” Russell said. “It’s best to conserve space.”

Music Hall

Recently, construction for the new music hall began, Capital Project Manager Kerra Ogden said.

The 26,000-square-foot building, near the fine arts center and Helm Library, will house two rehearsal halls, a music library, commons spaces, administrative faculty offices and storage spaces.

Two weeks ago, blasts for the new music hall began, Ogden said. The blasts occur three times per day.

Russell said blasting on campus isn’t normally allowed, but since there was so much rock in the area, there was no choice.

According to agenda materials from the October Board of Regents meeting, the budget for the project is $9,153,000, funded partially through agency bonds. The building is scheduled to be finished in December 2011.

Confucius Institute

Helm Library will undergo $100,000 in renovations to create space for the Confucius Institute electronic exhibit, Russell said.

To do so, the reference area in the library must be moved elsewhere, he said.

In addition to the move, Russell said new lighting fixtures, flooring and a new ceiling is being installed.

The project, funded by a grant, began in June and should be finished by May, according to agenda materials.