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$21 M in ETSU projects approved by State Building Commission

Rex Barber • Jul 15, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Much attention was placed this past week on members of the State Building Commission approving a plan to construct a new football stadium at East Tennessee State University, but that body also approved other university projects totaling around $21 million.

While the SBC does not have authority to approve dollars, it is necessary to give final approval to state building projects before they move forward.

Thursday, SBC members approved a plan to build an $18 million football stadium at ETSU. According to SBC documents, around $7.5 million of that money would come from student fees.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said the remainder of the project cost could be covered with a combination of state issued bonds and fundraising.

He plans to work on that.

The July meeting of the SBC is usually heavy with approval requests as it is the first meeting of the fiscal year. Thursday’s meeting agenda was 125 pages and included projects from around the state, some of which have been included in this year’s budget by the legislature and some, like the stadium, have only been disclosed.

A disclosure designation means local dollars must be found to fund a project, according to ETSU Vice President of Finance and Administration David Collins.

Below are some other projects approved by SBC members Thursday for ETSU:

A water replacement system for the College of Medicine’s Building 2 on the Veterans Affairs campus.

This will involve installing a package chilled water system, including all piping, pumps, valves and controls for a total cost of $500,000. This cost has been included in the budget.

The next project is the updating of several elevators on campus to come into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, to improve reliability and to provide safety updates with a focus on 2010 code requirements.

There are eight elevators in Brown, Burgin Dossett, Warf-Pickel, Rogers-Stout, Gilbreath, Lamb and Roy S. Nicks halls that require updating.

The total cost for this project is $1.35 million. This money comes from current funds for capital maintenance and bonds.

More energy efficient lighting at a cost of $1.5 million was approved in various campus buildings. This project has been approved for the 2013-14 budget.

The next project involves improving campus housing by renovating roofs, HVAC systems, flooring, electrical and plumbing systems and other minor repairs in Carter, Lucille Clement, Nell Dossett, Powell, Stone and West halls and Davis Apartments.

This project has only been disclosed at a cost of $3,306,000 and will be paid for by bonds that will be paid off by housing rent.

Another disclosed project is for renovations to the College of Medicine’s Building 60, which will include replacing all building systems and constructing new simulation labs, teaching labs, classrooms and spaces for technology and general support.

This project is projected to cost a little more than $12.9 million and is funded by reserve funds from the College of Pharmacy and College of Medicine.

A new data center was also approved Thursday. This facility will be approximately 5,000 square feet. This is a disclosed project estimated to cost $1.5 million.

“Currently, our data center is in the basement of Lucille Clement,” Collins said. “There’s been a couple of times that pipes have broken and leaked down into the data center.”

Collins said that fortunately no computers have ever been damaged but the potential to lose valuable equipment is present.

“We certainly can’t have a pipe wipe out our systems,” Collins said.

A location for the new data center has not yet been chosen, but Collins said it would likely be on the west end of campus, where Lucille Clement is, to utilize the generators already in place there and for other cost savings.

All these projects, now that they’ve been approved by the SBC, can move forward for planning, so no firm dates for construction to begin have been set.

“All this is getting it started for the designer,” Collins said.

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