ULL building projects on time

LAFAYETTE - Despite setbacks created by the bankruptcy of a major aluminum supplier, University of Louisiana at Lafayette construction projects remain on or ahead of schedule, according to the campus’ facilities supervisor.

U.S. Aluminum Co. filed for bankruptcy in May.

“They’re the largest supplier of aluminum. All of these aluminum suppliers got overloaded on demand,” said William Crist, ULL director of facility management. “Every job has delays.”

But projects such as the Picard Center for Childhood Development and Lifelong Learning remain ahead of a November target move-in, but are still awaiting windows and doors, Crist said.

Months ago, construction crews work at the site pushed the project ahead of schedule and in line for a possible June completion.

The Picard Center’s neighbor - ULL’s pre-kindergarten lab school - is expected to be open some time during the fall semester.

Major construction of new housing options on the main campus remain on schedule.

Next month, two major projects - a residence hall on Taft Street and an adjacent parking garage - will be complete.

A second residence hall planned for the Taft Street site should be ready by December.

The university began a major housing development initiative late last year that should increase on-campus housing capacity by 60 percent to about 3,000 beds, officials have said.

The “Rose Garden” housing area is now fenced off for workers to remove asbestos in preparation for the demolitions that will make way for two new residence halls.

Renovations are planned for the Rose Garden’s Harris, Buchanan and Randolph halls. The Rose Garden housing project should be complete by fall 2012.

Elsewhere on campus, renovations of O.K. Allen Hall should wrap in time for the start of the fall semester next month, Crist said.

The renovation project is the first in a multi-phased approach to renovate and expand the Student Union.

Planned demolitions of student services buildings that border Cypress Lake adjacent to the Student Union are now on hold to potentially save on cost and time by beginning work on the Student Union itself, Crist said.

Initially, the construction plan involved demolishing the older buildings to begin the expansion. Now, those buildings may be used to house existing Student Union services for the project.

“We were anxious to get those old buildings cleared out of the way, but we’re not able to do that as quickly as we had hoped,” Crist said.

A revised design and timeline for the project is still being worked out because of budgetary issues, he said.

The university sold $23 million in bonds for the project, which is funded by two separate student-assessed fees.