While several large capital projects are being finalized at Auburn University, the university announced several new, smaller construction projects during the board meeting Friday morning.
Four projects with a combined total cost of more than $300 million – the University Classroom and Lab Complex, the Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, the Football Performance Center and the Water Plant icy – should be finished by the end of summer or early fall.
Meanwhile, the list of new projects represents a wide range of amenities across the university and its expansions, ranging from new shared-use pathways, to a renovated space for the physiotherapy program, to a new pavilion, to aquaculture and greenhouse facilities.
All projects are in their early stages of development and are not expected to cost more than $1 million.
“When we launch a project or an architect’s selection, we haven’t done any design work yet, so we don’t really know what the price is,” said Dan King, Auburn’s associate vice president for the installations. “Until we start designing it, it’s hard to give it a valid number.”
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The Parkerson Mill Greenway project is entering its third phase.
This new shared-use trail project will span the existing 0.4-mile greenway.
The current greenway terminus at Lem Morrison Drive will be extended to an existing trail near the pond next to Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.
New lighting will be installed as well as a new bridge crossing a stream in the area.
The project will be partially funded by a Transportation Alternatives Program grant administered by the Alabama Department of Transportation. LBYD of Auburn will be the architectural firm for the project.
“LBYD has done an enormous amount of work for us in the past and our structural engineering company,” King said.
Renovation of the activity center
The Student Activity Center will soon be renovated to accommodate a new space for the School of Kinesiology’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.
The renovation will create new teaching spaces, a research lab and offices and is expected to be completed by fall 2024.
The project is expected to be funded with funds from the Provost’s Office and matching funds from the School of Kinesiology and the College of Education.
The University has not yet selected an architectural firm for the project.
Farm and Nature Center
The Graham Farm & Nature Center in Jackson County will soon receive a new 4,000 square foot pavilion.
The Farm and Nature Center is part of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System with Auburn University.
The new pavilion will include a covered patio, kitchen, meeting and outreach spaces and restrooms.
The project will be funded by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Chapman Sisson Architects of Huntsville will oversee the project.
The College of Agriculture will soon receive a new aquaculture barn and greenhouses. The project, however, will gain approval to move forward until at least September.
The new facilities were originally planned to be built in North Auburn, near the Fishing Complex. However, plans have been updated to place the facility at the main Transformation Gardens campus on Duncan Drive instead.
King cited accessibility for research, the university’s ongoing food production mission, and better leverage for financial resources as reasons for the move.
Other business: Gogue Center
In other areas, the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center will add new features to its theater studio and amphitheater.
One of the approved additions includes a glass hangar door for the south end of the studio theatre. This would open out onto the lawn and create an indoor/outdoor layout that reveals the amphitheater scene.
The amphitheater will also receive two LED screens on either side of the stage to display a live stream to patrons.
Wilson Butler Architects of Boston, Massachusetts, designed the Gogue Performing Arts Center and will help with the new additions.
“We believe we save a substantial amount of money in design costs by not having a new architect spend many billable hours trying to figure out what’s in the building and where all the major components are.” , said Michael DeMaioribus of the Auburn. University Board of Trustees at Friday’s meeting.
The cost is expected to be between $3 million and $5 million, although the design of the project has not been completed.
The additions are expected to be funded by the Gogue Performing Arts Center donation funds. A substantial donation from the local community was received in support of this project.
Other activity: Starbucks
Auburn’s Board of Directors approved Starbucks’ move into the Melton Student Center.
The cafe, now located on the second floor of the Melton Student Center, will be relocated to the site of the former sandwich and soup restaurant, Au Bon Pain. No opening date has been announced.
The 2,400 square foot space will allow Starbucks to offer hot breakfast items, which it is unable to prepare at the current location.
The new store will allow customers to order breakfast sandwiches and wraps in addition to baked goods already on sale.
Seay, Seay and Litchfield Architects of Montgomery will draft plans for the new store. The company has designed several dining halls at Auburn University in recent years.
The project is expected to be funded by student affairs funds.