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Numerous construction projects under way at ETSU

Rex Barber • Feb 20, 2013 at 9:32 PM

Recently, East Tennessee State University has been a busy place for construction contractors.

Millions of dollars in major renovation/construction projects at the university are nearing completion or progressing.

One of the most visible projects under way on campus is a new parking garage going up along West State of Franklin Road. The price tag on this massive $26 million project included the relocation and construction of tennis courts, which are practically finished.

Bill Rasnick, associate vice president of facilities at ETSU, said in a recent interview the new tennis courts are ready for spring athletics. These new courts have both athletics and recreational courts and were located farther out on the west end of campus, near the school’s soccer field. A second phase for these new tennis courts include building offices and some indoor courts, but those plans have not yet been drawn up and funding is not available.

But the garage should be ready for use by the start of the fall semester, Rasnick said. This project was begun in summer 2012 to provide 1,200 parking spaces for students.

Rasnick said soon pre-cast concrete panels used to construct the garage will arrive and be assembled.

A nearly two-year, $1.7 million renovation of the Reece Museum is practically finished. Originally built in the 1920s, the museum is one of the oldest structures on campus. It was in serious need of upgrades to the electrical system, the lighting, windows and HVAC system.

These upgrades should allow the museum to attract notable exhibits after it reopens to the public in April.

An expansion for the ETSU Center for Physical Activity recently got under way. Ground was officially broken on this project back in summer 2012, but work did not really begin until months later.

“It’s on schedule,” Rasnick said. “Again, the weather has made things difficult.”

The $7 million expansion will add about 20,000 square feet of programming space to the 100,000-square-foot facility.

Included in the expansion project is an extended weight and cardio room with new strength and cardio machines; one enclosed multi-use court for basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer; two upstairs studio spaces for yoga/Pilates, martial arts and other uses; additional restrooms and water fountains on the second floor; and a family/private use shower and changing facility on the main floor. It will also allow for the conversion of the current yoga studio into an indoor cycling studio.

The creation of a field complex a short distance from the main campus for intramural sports is included in the CPA project. This project will include a field house. This field complex, located at the corner of Ashley Road and Seminole Drive, is being constructed and will feature one multi-sport synthetic turf field with one softball field with a flag football field overlaid in the outfield, as well as a multi-sport, natural Bermuda grass field with one softball field with an overlaid 120-yard by 55-yard multi-use field.

“The one that’s lagging behind because of the weather is the rec fields up off of Seminole there,” Rasnick said. “They just, they absolutely haven’t been able to work on them over the last four or five maybe even six weeks.”

All that’s left is grade work but the weather must be suitable.

Renovations to Brown Hall, the campus science building, made possible through a $2 million National Science Foundation grant, are nearing completion, Rasnick said.

This grant was received a couple years ago to renovate research laboratories. As part of the grant project, three faculty computer labs were consolidated with improved HVAC and electrical systems. Some labs were reassigned and new fume hoods and controlled heating and lighting was installed.

“It’s primarily on the research side, it’s not classrooms,” Rasnick said. “But a lot of the biology and chemistry and physics staff that are there, it was an upgrade to their labs through that National Science Foundation grant.”

The other big project is in the College of Medicine’s Building 119 being done through a grant from the National Institutes of Health. This $9.1 million grant was received in 2010. Rasnick said the renovations made possible through the grant are on schedule and about a third of the way complete. The grant is the largest in the history of the medical school.

Building 119 houses a number of laboratories and offices for medical school researchers.

The NIH grant will be doled out over five years. Renovations include improving the building’s ability to better control the inside climate. The air handling system was unreliable in the past and caused research delays.

A new Ethernet network for the building is planned, as well.

First floor work and large air-handling units on the roof were the first improvements to be accomplished.

Future work will be floor by floor to renovate the laboratories.

The campus Quad space is also a project under way.

This $1 million project, located in the middle of campus, actually began in June with the closure of that section of campus to vehicle traffic.

This area included a conifer garden surrounding a veterans memorial. Those aspects of campus will be moved to accommodate the Quad, which will be a large green space where students can congregate.

Work is now planned to relocate the veterans memorial. Plans are almost finalized for the green space.

For more information on the campus Quad, visit etsu.edu/greenspace.

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