UA to expand campus over next five years

The UA campus may undergo extensive changes, some of which will take up to five years to complete, according to the Annual Consolidated Capital Projects and Facilities Report presented to the Board of Trustees in June 2011.

Throughout the renovations and demolitions, the University will look for new real estate to acquire around the campus, the report said.

“The Starbucks on the second floor of the Ferguson Center will be relocated to the ground floor,” the report said. “The University Supply Store will also increase its size from 26,247 square feet to 46,690 square feet.”

Margaret Bailey Turner, a freshman majoring in journalism, is very optimistic about the plans.

“The report makes sense; the SUPe Store is very cluttered and overcrowded,” Turner said. “An addition would make it much easier to find what one needs.”

The report said many of the older buildings on campus will experience extensive renovations, including but not limited to: ten Hoor Hall, Morgan Hall, Rowand-Johnson Hall and Bidgood Hall, as well as the Parham and Burke residence halls.

Plans are also being made for the construction of an Academic Honors Plaza to the north of Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library. According to the report, a green space will be added, complete with water fountains, bench seating and decorative lighting. However, this addition will take away part of the parking behind Gorgas, the report said.

In the report, plans were made to purchase more bench seating for the Quad and other locations on campus, extend some of the bike trails and pathways, and plant greenery along University Boulevard.

The report said Gorgas Library would also experience new additions in the coming months.

“To meet the current and growing demands of Gorgas, there is the need for an approximate 50,000 square foot addition,” the report said. “With a greater student population, the need for more library seats was required.”

The North Bluff Residential Community, mentioned in the report, is already in the process of being built. In addition to creating more student housing, the community will take the place of Rose Towers, which will be demolished. This community will house its own dining area and a new recreation center, the report said.

“The North Bluff Residential Community is scheduled to open in August 2012,” said Cathy Andreen, UA director of Media Relations. “The Ferguson Center plans have not yet been finalized.”

A new recreational facility, which will contain weight and fitness training, multi-use gymnasium space, group exercise and personal training opportunities, as well as a dining center that will serve students on the expanding north campus and will reduce peak lunch hour overcrowding, were among other changes listed in the report.

Both the new dining center and recreational center will reportedly provide a panoramic view of the Black Warrior River.

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