Slew of Major Construction Projects Expanding University of Alabama

Mon July 19, 2021 - Southeast Edition
CEG


The new Tutwiler Residence Hall will accommodate more than 1,200 freshmen female students with two-person rooms, with private bathrooms in each room, lounges and community/traditional-style residence hall spaces. The project is budgeted at $144.9 million. (University of Alabama rendering)
The new Tutwiler Residence Hall will accommodate more than 1,200 freshmen female students with two-person rooms, with private bathrooms in each room, lounges and community/traditional-style residence hall spaces. The project is budgeted at $144.9 million. (University of Alabama rendering)
The new Tutwiler Residence Hall will accommodate more than 1,200 freshmen female students with two-person rooms, with private bathrooms in each room, lounges and community/traditional-style residence hall spaces. The project is budgeted at $144.9 million. (University of Alabama rendering) The 2nd Avenue Overpass project will form a connection from 15th Street to Paul W. Bryant Drive (10th Street), creating a new and centrally located corridor into campus that won't be hampered by the train tracks. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com) The University of Alabama is renovating the Peter Bryce main hospital building to include the University welcome center, reception venue and associated office and administrative space.  (University of Alabama photo) The new Hewson Hall — a $54 million, 108,000-sq.-ft. building — will be built adjacent to Mary Hewell Alston Hall, centered around a three-story atrium. It will include 22 classrooms, 50 team rooms, a student success center, conference rooms and other features. (University of Alabama rendering) The view from Bryant-Denny Stadium of a water tower proposed for the University of Alabama campus. (UA Board of Trustees rendering)

The signs for even more growth on the University of Alabama (UA) campus are clear, with several construction projects under way, costing hundreds of millions of dollars in total, many impacting greater Tuscaloosa.

Construction takes up a huge chunk of each summer on campus, with UA intentionally doing as much work throughout the season as possible to minimize hampering students and faculty during the fall and spring semesters.

UA's Associate Vice President for Construction Tim Leopard told AL.com, a statewide news service, that several construction projects are happening on campus this summer, along with other projects that will begin soon, collectively costing more than $350 million. These include the New Tutwiler Residence Hall, the brand-new Hewson Hall and the 2nd Avenue Overpass.

The listed budget for each project is what Leopard calls the "total project cost." This includes construction, infrastructure, landscaping and paving, as well as non-building costs like IT systems, wireless networks, audio/visual components, furniture, architecture fees — everything that it will cost to take a project through its planning, design, and construction.

New Tutwiler Residence Hall

Located at the northeast corner of 10th Avenue and 12th Street in Tuscaloosa, the new Tutwiler Hall will accommodate more than 1,200 first-year female students with two-person rooms, each featuring private bathrooms. In addition, lounges and community spaces are part of its design.

Construction began in June 2019 with a budget of $144.9 million.

TurnerBatson Architects in Birmingham designed the dormitory, with Birmingham-based B. L. Harbert LLC in charge of building the 1,284-bed facility.

The new Tutwiler dorm is currently on schedule to open in August 2022.

It will be the third residence hall built on the university's campus over a 100-year time span honoring Julia Tutwiler, a 19th-century advocate for education and prison reform in Alabama.

On its website, UA Maps noted that the new residence hall has been specially designed to meet student needs, as well as support annual move-in events and summer camps.

"Each level of the building includes smaller, intimate community-style living and study spaces to encourage a sense of comfort and togetherness," according to a description on the university site. "This new residence hall will also include on-site fitness amenities and a multipurpose room that doubles as a storm shelter that will provide a space for the residents to hold group meetings and social gatherings."

Existing Tutwiler Demolition and Site Redevelopment

Shortly before the new Tutwiler Hall is completed next summer, work will begin to demolish the older dormitory.

Currently, plans call for the structure to be imploded on July 4, 2022, at a cost of $10 million.

This proposed work will bring down the existing 270,225-gross-sq.-ft. residence hall before site development is done to stabilize the area impacted by the demolition. In addition, pedestrian pathways and utilities necessary to service the new dorm also will be improved, crews will construct a drop off surface lot to serve the new Tutwiler Residence Hall as well as a new bus loop. New site lighting and a traffic signal along 10th Avenue will be included to address the area's traffic, according to UA.

2nd Avenue Overpass

University officials noted that more than 70,000 vehicles cross the train tracks running along the south edge of the Alabama campus every day. There are only two ways in and out of that part of the college with both going over the train tracks.

To alleviate having to travel across the tracks, the 2nd Avenue Overpass project will form a connection from 15th Street to Paul W. Bryant Drive (10th Street), creating a new and centrally located corridor into campus. UA notes that the new road also will be helpful for emergency response and traffic flow during campus events.

Construction on the overpass began early in 2020 with a budget of $21 million. The structure was designed by Tuscaloosa's McGiffert and Associates, an engineering consultant. Brasfield & Gorrie in Birmingham is the prime contractor.

Leopard noted that the 2nd Avenue Overpass is scheduled to be finished in August. When that happens, he said it will take drivers above the UA campus, giving them a unique view into Sewell Thomas Stadium, Coleman Coliseum, and the rest of the university.

Peter Bryce Main Renovation

UA is refurbishing the former Peter Bryce Main hospital building to include the university's welcome center, reception venue and associated office and administrative space. The building also will house faculty offices and rehearsal space for the Theatre and Dance Department, as well as museums dedicated to both the school's history and the history of mental health in Alabama.

The $83.8 million renovation is currently in the design/bidding phase, according to the university, but the architect for the project is Birchfield Penuel & Associates in Birmingham. So far, UA has not said when the construction will begin.

"Restoring the past, re-imagining the future. Recognizing the caliber of the performing arts at UA, the University is writing a new script and re-imagining the role of Bryce Main," according to a description of the project on the UA Maps website. "This transformation will restore and re-energize this historic facility, allowing it to not only be an important part in the story of how campus developed in the past but also how campus will grow in the future."

Leopard said that UA is working on this building "in packages," adding that it is currently finishing a stair and elevator package and working with the architects to get the final project ready to go. The hope is that the project goes out for bid by the end of the year, he explained, while calling the Bryce an "incredibly complex project" that the school is being careful with to protect the structure's legacy.

Hewson Hall

Only a few months after a $15 million gift to the school, UA announced plans for Hewson Hall, an addition to the Culverhouse College of Business. The $54 million, 108,000-sq.-ft. building will be built adjacent to Mary Hewell Alston Hall, and centered around a three-story atrium. The new facility will include 22 classrooms, 50 team rooms, a student success center, conference rooms and other features. In addition, it also will be built with a FEMA-rated storm shelter.

The building, located at 380 Stadium Drive in Tuscaloosa, will be finished and open in time for classes in August.

The architect for the structure is Birmingham's Williams Blackstock, and Hewson Hall's builder is WAR Construction in Tuscaloosa.

Greek Housing

Currently, the only Greek housing project ongoing at UA is a $2 million renovation of the Delta Gamma sorority house. The effort was put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic but is planned to restart with bids to go out this fall. A projected summer 2022 completion has been set.

Leopard said it will be completed in two phases, beginning with the renovation of the serving line space and dining area, followed by the construction of a 978-sq.-ft. addition to the building.

He told AL.com that no other Greek housing work is scheduled for this summer.

Central Campus Thermal Energy Connection

This $33 million project includes work on pipes that connect various buildings to UA's central thermal system, where chilled water is created and distributed to the central part of campus.

Leopard said the new utilities project will save UA money by eliminating the need for each building to generate its own thermal system.

Set to be finished this fall, the thermal energy connection is designed by HHB Engineers, from Prattville, Ala., and is being installed by Burns & McDonnell, a Kansas City engineering and construction firm with an office in Atlanta.

He characterized UA as "a city within a city," with roads, sewers, electric lines and other infrastructure that the school builds, operates and maintains.

"We've got to provide all that infrastructure to support the academic mission," he said in remarks to AL.com

University Services Campus Renovations

The University of Alabama purchased the former Partlow Campus property years ago, Leopard said, to perform adaptive reuse on buildings there for the college's service and support.

This summer, for instance, work has begun on a $2.5 million environmental health and safety warehouse totaling 11,000 sq. ft. along Ruby Tyler Parkway.

Payne Design Group Architects, based in Montgomery, has designed the structure's renovations, along with buildings to house offices for UA's construction administration, procurement, human resources, and transit. Together, they add up to 59,302 sq. ft. of space.

The total budget for the renovations is $9.4 million.

Parker Haun Tennis Facility

The Parker Haun Tennis Facility, located at the courts by the University of Alabama Student Recreation Center, is currently under construction, with the builder, Snow-Blakeney Construction in Tuscaloosa, working to complete the project in August. Work began on the project back in February.

The $1.4 million complex was designed by Tuscaloosa's Ellis Architects.

Leopard called the tennis facility a "key, critical project" that was enabled through the support of "a lot of good university friends."

Water Distribution System Enhancements

The city of Tuscaloosa is building a new water tower as part of its Water Distribution System Enhancements Project from Queen City Avenue east to the UA campus. It is located at the intersection of Campus Drive and Riverside Drive on the northwest edge of the university's footprint.

Both UA and the city partnered to study the long-term needs of the system on campus and in the surrounding areas. Together, they identified the need for robust investment in the water system to meet demand from current use and planned development in and around the campus.

Building the $650,000 water tower should increase and stabilize water pressure across the UA campus and the surrounding community while hopefully eliminating any pressure-related water problems during large events at the university, such as Crimson Tide football games, according to UA.

Blueprints for the project, including the water tower, were drawn up by McGiffert & Associates and from those plans, Dominion Construction in Tuscaloosa began building the structure.




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