2011-12 school year to be quiet for WCU construction

Western Carolina University’s 2011-12 construction projects may be the most uneventful projects in over a decade.

Construction workers have been authorized and funded by North Carolina to begin work on the renovation of the Harrill Residence Hall, and to complete the Health and Human Sciences building, which will be located across Highway 107 as part of WCU’s new Millennial Campus.

WCU Engineering Supervisor for Facilities Management Wiley Harris said the work on Harrill Residence Hall will make some major changes.

Harris said it was “a major overhaul of exterior skin—it will have a whole new look.”

According to Harris, there will be an additional classroom on its exterior, a mechanical room for support, a rainwater collection system, and possibly solar panels on the roof, if the budget allows.

The building will contain a loop well system for heating, which will use roughly 40 wells.

He also said some renovation would be done on Harrill’s lobby, in addition to some changes to the layout of the resident suites.

The building will be air conditioned and heated.

Last year’s weather and funding delayed the construction of the new Health and Human Sciences building, but Harris said the building should be ready by the end of February or early March of 2012.

Last year, students could see massive construction at the center of campus as they went to and from class. This semester, the hard work has evolved into a striking new Quad center.

“That’s one of the things I’m glad we got accomplished,” Harris said. “It took us from 2000 to now to get that accomplished, eleven years of planning for completion.”

Harris said the state budget was driving everything. He said the money that WCU receives for construction by North Carolina was pulled back this year, due to the economy.

“We have less than a number of projects, [but] we are at the tail-end of a lot of them,” he said.

Harris hinted that there might be plans for renovation in Walker Resident Hall in the future

“The legislation has approved it,” he said. “But the state just has not funded it.”