By Jaci Schneider, Opinion Editor
Plans are still up in the air about whether the new residence hall across from the Brown Library parking lot will be built this year.
“We’re still working on the budget, trying to see if we can get the cost in line,” said Jack Rich, executive vice president. “We’re working hard to see if we can get in within the budget.”
Rich said that changes in the price of materials from when the project was estimated have thrown off the budget, which was originally set at $6 million.
“I think it’s off by about half a million dollars,” he said. “You never know what the price will be until you get a bit into it.”
The contractor, Hill and Wilkinson General Contractors, will bid on sheet rock, wood and electric and mechanical supplies, Rich said. Currently the contractors are doing “value engineering,” evaluating individual pieces of the project to see where costs can be reduced.
Rich said some work is already being done, and if construction begins soon, the hall should still be finished by its original August finish date.
“In essence, we’re doing a lot of work,” Rich said, “So we’re still on schedule.”
Students may have noticed parts of the parking lot where the hall will be built were roped off last week. Kevin Watson, associate vice president for Administrative Services, said in an e-mail workers are moving utility poles and getting the area prepared for construction. However, he said plans are not finalized.
“We are still working on the numbers, and there is still a possibility that we will not be able to build it this year,” Watson said.
Watson said a tremendous amount of work must be done before workers can start building, but he will be excited once it all begins.
Students should be ready in the next couple weeks to find a new parking space if they’re used to parking across from the library, he said, because as soon as construction begins, the parking lot will be removed from use. Workers will continue to work on utilities, do soil checks and prepare for construction.