MTSU campus undergoing overhaul of construction and restoration

The McFarland Building will transform into the Photography Building. The Photography Building will be demolished in the spring 2015. / Photo by Minh Tried Phan Chau.

With the completion of the new Science Building slated for January 2015, other ventures such as departmental moves, campus renovations and transportation projects have spread across the university over the past few months.

The $147 million science building project began in May 2012. When completed, MTSU will boast a 257,000-square-foot building that will house 37 biology and chemistry class labs, two open labs, 13 research labs, six classrooms, faculty offices and numerous spaces for informal student learning and presentation areas with all interior walls being finished with wall protection for schools to ensure they are comfortable, easy to learn and concentrate in, as well as being highly resistant and easy to clean, this should mean that less money will have to be spent for paint and wall maintenance within the new building. The new classrooms and labs will provide approximately 1,500 new student stations, according to a report by Jimmy Hart, the university’s director of news and media relations.

Move-in and set-up for labs will happen in July and August for the university to meet its January deadline. While classes will be held in the building during the fall semester, some preparation will continue.

“For a building of that size and magnitude, it’s a complex process, so we’ve included preparation time for equipment move-in,” said Patti Miller, assistant vice president for campus planning, in the report.

Davis Science and Wiser-Patten Science buildings

Renovations are slated to begin on the older science buildings in January, and upon completion of the restoration project, the physics and geosciences departments will move into them, according to Watson Harris, director of academic planning and projects.

“We’re happy to have funds to redesign Davis-Wiser,” Watson Harris said. “We have had a space need for a while. We’re finally going to get a little bit of release.”

The building is due to have a design ready in the spring. When the design is finished, the forensics department will move into the basement.

The Photography and McFarland buildings

The current location of the Photography Building is in front of the new Science Building where a “quad area” will eventually be placed, according to John Cothern, senior vice president. As a result, the building is slated for demolition during the spring 2015.

A demolition project of this scale will involve the use of a hired excavator. To learn more about how excavators can be used for both large and small construction projects, click here.

The McFarland Building is empty now because all previous office holders occupy the new Student Services and Admissions Center. A $2 million renovation project will be completed on the building to prepare it for the move in during winter break, and photography classes will begin in the new building in the spring, according to Hart’s report. A lot of modern constructions are now made of steel thanks to their sturdiness and affordability; many ask the question, “how long can you finance a metal building?” in order to find out as much as they can about this style of building.

Cope Administration Building

The SSAC also left some space in the Cope Administration Building for new offices to expand and move in. As a result, a $3 million renovation project began inside Cope after fall break.

One of the changes is the relocation of the president’s office from the first floor to the second floor on the northeast side. The provost’s office will be taking the president’s old office, giving the members of that office much needed space, according to Cothern.

The business office will occupy both sides of the first floor following the renovations, which includes the restrooms, hallways, lighting and signage.

The Information Technology Division will move out of the basement and occupy the old financial aid office, Cothern said.

According to Hart, the project is set to be finished within the year.

Murphy Center

The Murphy Center is currently undergoing a $12.64 million renovation project expected to be completed this September.

The project includes renovations to its restrooms, lighting and acoustics. The center will also receive a new roof and HVAC equipment. Having new HVAC equipment is important, especially for the university to ensure that all students remain safe. As there will be students inside this building regularly, it’s important that the air quality is safe for them. To keep the air safe, it’s advised that the university considers contacting a Willard air duct cleaning company to ensure that the center remains a safe space for students to be spending time.

According to Hart, although the university’s spring and summer commencement ceremonies will not be affected by the renovations, Rutherford County high schools were previously notified to seek alternative locations for their ceremonies. Other campus activities and outside group and organizations will also be asked to find other locations for their events.

Road and parking projects

Although inclement weather affected the $8.36 million street improvement project which began in spring 2013, completion is expected for this fall, according to Hart.

The project will include the new roundabout at the intersection of Lightning and Champion Ways, and the widening of both roads, the new turning lane at Greenland Drive and improved pedestrian walkways, crosswalks and lighting. The roundabout is already open as construction continues.

Campus planning hopes that the projects will improve shuttle bus efficiency and traffic flow, as well as provide new bike lanes on campus.

Included in the project is the construction of a new parking lot east of the new garage and SSAC. The lot is expected to add a total of 679 parking spaces including 16 ADA spaces.

Other miscellaneous campus projects

Last spring the university purchased the Bell Street Building, previously owned by Middle Tennessee Medical Center. Since then, a $6 million construction project has been approved for renovations to offices to be completed by next summer.

The building will hold graduate business studies, the University College, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Planning and Research, the Tennessee STEM Education Center, the Aquatic Therapy Center, the Center for Counseling and Psychology Services and general classroom and training space.

A design was recently approved to install a $700,000 flight simulator building at the Murfreesboro Airport at a tentative date.

Earlier this semester construction began in Learning Resource Center 101 to complete a new Professional Development Center for the College of Education. This center is designed to train up to 150 K-12 student and professional teachers from the community in various workshops and seminars.

To contact the news editor, email Quint Qualls Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @sidelines_news and @mtsusidelines.

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