Campus construction to heat up this summer

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

During the summer and leading into the fall semester, there will be an increase in campus construction. Campus navigation may feel like an episode of “Survivor” for a while, but, ultimately, everyone will benefit from the planned improvements.

With Commencement finalized, Parking Lots 18 and 19 will permanently close to make way for two major construction projects. A $14 million Union Deck expansion will begin almost immediately. Expanding Union Deck will add 570 parking spaces to the structure’s west end making up for spaces lost with the closure of lots 18 and 19. When completed, the expansion actually will add parking spaces to this part of campus.

A new $63.5 million Health and Wellness Center is scheduled to begin construction in June; it will be on the lot 19 site near the Popp Martin Student Union. The planned 140,000-square-foot facility will include aerobic and weight training rooms, group fitness areas, multipurpose courts, a recreational pool and space for administration of intramural and recreational programs. This much-needed facility addresses the current shortage of student health and wellness space, according to campus officials. 

A number of other important projects are slated to begin this summer:

Expect outdoor wireless coverage to increase significantly with the installation of additional wireless access points throughout campus. Students will be able to finish research papers and study for exams in a variety of outdoor spaces. Visitors to Halton Arena also will enjoy access to fast, reliable wireless service. Expect the wireless installations to be completed this fall.

Work on the Charlotte Research Institute entrance at Institute Circle and North Tryon Street will provide an enhanced “sense of arrival” to the University, similar to the main entrance at University City Boulevard. Construction will begin in late summer. The scope of work includes a UNC Charlotte sign, brick columns and enhancements to pedestrian access.

In preparation for the startup of the LYNX Blue Line Extension, which will bring light rail to campus, work will be underway for improvements to pedestrian and shuttle bus access at both the Main Station on campus and the J.W. Clay/UNC Charlotte station. Click here to view the UNC Charlotte light rail website.

A major renovation of Scott Hall in South Village will start this month; construction is expected to be completed in 10 months. Renovations of the final two high rises, Moore and Sanford, are planned for 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The long-awaited revitalization of Belk Plaza will start in September and take about six months to complete. The project includes a “great lawn” and a unique water feature with plans to be an exceptional outdoor “living room” for the campus. Read more about the conceptual design of the plaza.

Work also will start on a new Facilities Operations and Parking and Transportation Services complex located near North Deck. The complex will include a new warehouse for Receiving and Stores. Moving these functions from its current location, at Mary Alexander and Craver Roads, will make room for the new science building.

Three important projects will be finalized this summer. First, the repurposing of the old Residence Dining Hall (RDH) into administrative offices for Housing and Residence Life and the catering kitchen will finish this month. Secondly, the new Student Counseling Center, located adjacent to the Student Heath Center, will finish in August. Finally, renovation of the Burson Building will conclude in August with a fresh look to the old 1980s-style chemistry and physics classrooms and much-improved air conditioning.

Renovation of the Academic Complex continues with the Phase 1 Denny Building work expected to complete in December. Phase 2, Macy and Barnard, will begin late this summer. Employees in these buildings will take up temporary occupancy in the Cedar and Hickory buildings. This project will revitalize some of the University's oldest facilities to serve the campus for the next 30 years. 

No construction update would be complete without mention of UNC Charlotte’s largest project ever – a $101 million science building. This state-of-the-art interdisciplinary facility will house instructional classrooms and research labs in chemistry, physics and biological sciences.  The building is to be located at the corner of Mary Alexander and Craver Roads, and design is underway. Project completion is expected to take approximately 18 months, with construction starting in late 2018. The anticipated occupancy date is late 2020.

Throughout the influx of construction workers and equipment throughout campus – safety is key. Pedestrians and drivers should remain alert to route changes, road and sidewalk closures, barricades and construction signage and traffic.

“Facilities Management is working through an unprecedented level of construction,” said Phil Jones, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Management. “The goal is to do our best to ease the challenges and facilitate smooth transitions in the months ahead. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work together through an exceptional series of construction projects that will enrich the campus upon completion.”

Visit the Five-year Capital Construction Plan website for schedule updates on these and other projects.

The interactive campus map is resource for navigating campus. Real-time updates will show restrictions caused by construction.

Photo: A rendering of the new Student Counseling Center, which is under construction near the Student Health Center.