Harrill Hall, Health and Human Sciences building taking shape

Western Carolina University is one of the only universities in the UNC system that has room for growth and expansion. WCU has numerous construction projects going on, two of them being for renovations on Harrill Hall and the newly constructed Health and Human Sciences building.

Harrill Hall has a completion date set for Aug. 2, with plans to be available for the fall semester.

According to Wiley Harris, WCU’s engineering supervisor, “Facilities Management and Residential Living are working with the contractor and designer to bring this project in on time. Contractors are fully aware of the importance of meeting the Aug. 2 completion date.”

The Harrill project has been impacted with the weather to some degree, but the majority of the work is within the building, so they are able to work no matter the weather. Harris also noted that the new Geo Thermal wells have been also been impacted to some degree. With the unusual weather this winter, the contractor and employees are working around the impact it has caused.

WCU is still within budget for both projects. While a portion of the budget and tuition increases will go to construction, the contractors and WCU intend to remain within budget.

WCU expects to get LEED Silver rating and to work towards achieving the LEED Gold rating. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an ecology-oriented building certification program run under the auspices of the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED concentrates its efforts on improving performance across five key areas of environmental and human health: energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials selection, sustainable site development and water savings.

Harrill Hall’s improvements will include several ecological improvements, such as parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles, roofing with a heat island effect, light pollution reduction, controllability of light and thermal systems and water use reduction. Materials used for building are low-emitting, and the landscaping is water efficient. Pieces of the old Harrill Hall that needed to be removed will be recycled according to Construction Waste Management.

For the new Health and Human Sciences building, it is a new four-story 160,000 square foot building located 1.5 miles from the main campus across Highway 107 on Little Savannah Road.

Students will have a minimum of 45 minutes between classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to travel from between the H.H.S. Building and main campus and an hour and 15 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday.

Since there will be limited parking available, students are encouraged to car pool and take the Cat Tran, which will run on a schedule from main campus to the new building. WCU is planning an additional overflow gravel parking lot across the street from the building.

Something else new for the H.H.S. Building could be that the campus is smoke-free. Nursing majors and other students are trying to get the entire section of the new campus to be smoke free.