Nugent Hall construction nears finish line

After more than a year of construction work, Nugent Hall, a new residence hall at the Ikenberry Commons, is nearly complete. Nugent Hall will be located between Euclid and First streets on Gregory Drive and will take the place of Garner Hall.

Garner Hall is currently under demolition to clear space around Nugent that will be used for landscaping. The landscaping project looks to be finished around October.

“Our aim is to recycle as much as possible of the material in Garner Hall,” said Kirsten Ruby, assistant director of housing for marketing. “We were able to do that with a very high percentage of the furniture … it is in the 90-percent range. Of the materials we are hoping to recycle just as much as we can, that means all of the brick materials, concrete block anything that is metallic will be recycled. So we’re making as little impact as possible.”

The goal, according to Ruby, is to get LEED gold certification for Nugent Hall. Nugent is currently LEED silver certified. According to the construction website, “LEED certification of Nugent Hall was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. Nugent Hall achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as … other sustainable strategies.

Being LEED certified helps the community by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, making for a better an envioronmnet, according to the website. They also save families, businesses and taxpayers money by using less energy and water.

Nugent Hall will be filled with mostly returning students, according to Ruby, because they had a chance to sign up first to the new hall, and it was already filled “within 15 minutes.”

The project, which has been in progress for the last 11 years, is currently moving in furniture and will be ready for move-in day in August. It will feature only double and single rooms and come with an air-conditioning system. It also advertises larger rooms than other dorms.

The new electrical and computer engineering (ECE) building that is being built on Bardeen Quad has a couple more years until completion.

Like Nugent Hall, ECE is trying to get to a LEED gold level for recycling and using as little energy as possible. It will be using a better insulating wall system compared with most other buildings on campus, making the heating and lighting systems more efficient. As an additional resource, a solar energy unit will be installed.

“Our target, if we can pull it off, is to try and make this building a zero-net-energy building, which would mean that its energy use on average in the course of a year should be zero or better,” said Philip Krein, professor in electrical and computer engineering. “If we were to pull that off, and so far the projections look good, it would be the largest such building the United States.”

The new hall will also feature accommodations for student needs.

“The biggest benefit is the building really is designed for the student community,” Krein said.

The new building will feature a diverse allocation of space: A substantial fraction of the building is dedicated to classrooms, student labs and group and meeting rooms for students. Krein also said there will be informal gathering places and a large auditorium for classes and other events.

“I think students are really going to find this building very exciting,” Krein said.

The project thus far has faced little complications along the way, but that is to be expected, according to Krein. The project’s cost is around $90 million, with much of the money coming from state capital. The University is not paying for any of it, according to Krein.

Krein did admit it would be a scramble to finish by the mid-July 2014 deadline.

The other two main projects set to end before the start of the fall semester is the finishing of Lincoln Hall as well as a few touch-ups on the Natural History Building.

Furniture and other items are being moved into Lincoln Hall, which has been under construction the past couple of years, while the Natural History Building is working on some touch up work on the outside of the building.

“They have been repairing the envelope of the building,“ said Andy Blacker, manager of external relations for customer relations and communications. “So what that has included is replacing windows, redoing a lot of the brick work. So they’ve been tuck pointing and repairing the brick as well as replacing some of the slate tiles and some of the other roofing areas as well as gutters and down spouts and things like that.”

All the repairs to the “envelope” have come from deferred maintenance money, which comes from the University and goes to projects that fix up the older buildings in real need of repair. The budget for this part of the project is around $5 million.

While Lincoln Hall will be fully ready for fall and have its dedication the weekend of Homecoming, the Natural History Building will still have parts closed off for further construction.