As we approach the switch to daylight saving time this weekend, I find myself with a little more daylight in the afternoon and evenings. This allows me to take some time to observe what is and isn’t going on with current construction projects as I walk to meetings and events around campus.
Two projects come to mind because of their prominence on campus.
The Grand Avenue underground pedestrian crosswalk
This is a project that has been plagued by COVID-related supply chain delays, Missouri bedrock removal delays, ancient utilities to nowhere delays and then back to supply chain delays. At this point, I don’t think it would surprise Matt Morris, vice president for administrative services, if the crew returned with the discovery of a woolly mammoth. But, of course, I jest.
According to Matt, we are nearing the finish line on this project. He is projecting everything will reopen in May. The underground pedestrian walkway will be completely accessible with a ramp from parking lots 22 and 24 on the south side and an elevator on the north side of Grand.
I’m excited for our students, faculty and staff, many of whom use this crosswalk on a daily basis. Additionally, football fans, Tent Theatre attendees and many other visitors to campus will be able to enter campus via this safe, accessible and well-lit Grand entrance (pun intended).
Blunt Hall construction
We were thrilled to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the newly named Roy Blunt Hall (formerly Temple Hall) on Dec. 16, 2022. The plan was to move through the disruptive teardown and excavation work over winter break. However, the federal funding included several additional prerequisites that have required us to pause and address before starting construction.
Blunt Hall was built in 1971, which means it’s over 50 years old. This also means it’s eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic places. Due to the age of the building, its original condition and significant Brutalist architectural style, the original building has been deemed historically significant by the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office.
Consequently, we have been working with federal and state agencies to gain approval of the building addition. We are near an agreement with these agencies and are looking to finalize by the end of March.
If all goes well, the disruptive portion of construction will begin following spring commencement. In the meantime, the crews are completing prep work in and around the building to provide easier maneuvering and safe conditions (new sidewalks, construction entrances, etc.).
It is expected that construction on Blunt Hall will complete in spring 2025.
As I have noted in earlier columns, the remodeling and addition to Blunt Hall was a project that was sorely needed yet seemed completely out of reach given the funding required to bring it to fruition. It’s an exciting project and will be well worth the disruptions on campus. I look forward to observing the evolution of the new addition as I walk around campus over the coming months.
Speaking of looking forward – don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour this weekend!
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State.
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