Nursing building designs delay project

Current members of the Anderson College of Nursing will spend the remainder of their time at UNA in Stevens Hall without experiencing the new nursing building as the university promised.

The Anderson College of Nursing was originally set to move into Laura M. Harrison Hall fall 2018. After contractors appraised the design at $7 million over the estimated budget, the university sent the design back to the architect to try to eliminate costs on the building.

The university hopes to have the design completed by March 2018 so bids can begin, said Michael Gautney, assistant vice president of facilities, administration and planning.

Gautney said he hopes contractors will complete construction by fall 2019, a year after the original estimated completion date.

The original building design had four floors, including a basement. The basement included six classrooms, a 200 seat auditorium, a basic skills lab, a simulation lab, an atrium area extending up to the second floor and a tornado shelter.

To reduce the cost of the building, the university decided to eliminate the atrium and the 200 seat classroom. This downsized the building by one floor.

Junior Robert Murray said the 200-seat classroom seems like a good part of the design to give up.

“Unless they’re using it for guest lecture, it isn’t necessary because we have Norton Auditorium,” Murray said. “It seemed like a luxury that wasn’t required.”

The area on the first and second floors where the atrium was located will now hold offices from the eliminated floor.

Architects also reduced the amount of retaining walls and hardscape surfaces to reduce costs.

Gautney said the university does not have a final estimate for the cost of the design because the design is not set, but is confident the redesign of the building reduced the cost from over $20 million to around $16.8 million.

Gautney said the removal of the storm shelter will cut back on costs due to the reduced structural elements needed to build a shelter in the building. He plans to locate the storm shelter in another area on campus.

Freshman Colin Tate said the delay on construction is an inconvenience to the nursing students.

“They’re keeping them in a building that doesn’t suit their needs for even longer,” Tate said.

Gautney said the university is trying to speed up construction. This is why the university decided to move forward in the demolition of Floyd Hall. Demolition of this area eliminated approximately 15 weeks of construction.

Gautney said bids for the building’s construction will go out shortly after designs are complete. He said he hopes to begin construction on the new nursing building by April 2018.