Classroom II to open in 2013
Construction underway at Memory Mall
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Updated: Friday, July 20, 2012 10:07
Piles of upturned earth, equipment and work trailers mar the landscape behind Classroom I at the otherwise immaculate UCF Memory Mall.
Students can look forward to bigger class space, wider hallways and more lobby seating in the three-story, 80,000-square-foot Classroom II building set for completion on July 25, 2013.
James Davis, interim director of UCF Facilities Planning and Construction, said the site received a notice to proceed, barring some initial site work, on June 20 after funds were appropriated from the state in spring 2010. The $23.4 million project, he said, is being funded through the Public Education Capital Outlay fund, which goes toward classroom or educational research facilities and is funded through gross utility sales taxes.
UCF ROTC, which up until now has been housed in modest trailers next to the Recreation and Wellness Center, has much to look forward to in the new building, Davis said. The building will include a first-floor military history library and recruiting office, a second-floor 1,533-square-foot virtual battle lab and the third story that will house Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC.
“There is going to be an outdoor courtyard area that will serve as that connector space to Classroom I,” Davis said. “There is a third-story element that will house the ROTC Army and Air Force components. The entrance to the ROTC will have frontage on the Memory Mall.”
The building is being designed by Bill Martin of Schenkel Shultz Architecture, the same firm that designed the 26,760-square-foot, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-silver-certified Career Services & Experiential Learning building, which is also located at Memory Mall, according to its website. Classroom II will also seek a LEED-silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Associate Vice President for Administration and Finance Lee Kernek said the concrete foundations have yet to be poured, but academic affairs is already scheduling courses for fall 2013.
These classes will be held in a building with seven 125- to 140-seat lecture halls and wider hallways, entrance and exit ways to accommodate the crush of students entering and leaving classes, she said.
“We put a lot of soundproofing in the building because of that many people, great lighting and the big hallway, so [students] will have access,” Kernek said. “We will put some seating in the hallway. We have noticed kids want to sit outside their classrooms.”
Kernek said a flagman will be posted at the site to ensure students remain unharmed during the construction.
The process of requesting funding through the less-than-robust Private Equity Co-Investment funds has changed, Kernek said, but the state has done work with the troubled trust fund.
“One of the things, we used to give money up front for those funds,” Kernek said. “Now instead, we will pay those funds when we bill, because we get billed along the way, and then we will pay with a justification to the Department of Education.”
The DOE will pay 84 percent up front, and the remaining 16 percent remains on the balance up to a year’s time. The state has also added some bonds to the fund to shore it up.
“As the trust fund gets healthier, it is possible that we would not have to have that balance outstanding for as long,” Kernek said.
While the amenities are great, students in and around Classroom I were unaware what the construction was for. Devon Johnson-Robinson, a freshman majoring in business administration, said he didn’t mind the construction but was confused as to what was being constructed.
“Aren’t they building a new parking lot?” he asked.
Johnson-Robinson said it would be helpful if the university posted signs outside the construction site to tell students what was being built.
“I was just assuming things,” he said.
Dylan Cekosh, a freshman in mechanical engineering, said his walk from the garage to his class on the other side of Classroom I remains unobstructed. Cekosh did not know what the construction was for, either.
When asked if signs would be helpful, Cekosh said, “It’d be cool.”