The University of Oregon's Eugene campus is changing rapidly, and more new developments are on the way.
Mike Harwood, associate vice president of UO Campus Planning & Facilities Management and university architect, broke down the current and planned capital projects that can be seen around campus, some of which will "transform" day-to-day life for students.
Harwood said one of the biggest and most notable projects for Eugene residents and students is the construction on Agate Street and 15th Avenue. It is part of the Hamilton Walton Transformation Project.
Two new dormitory buildings are nearing the end of construction at the former location of Walton Hall. This is Phase II of the Hamilton Walton Transformation Project. Phase I saw the completion of Unthank Hall across the street.
"If you drive by there, you see a lot more of the finished materials are getting on the building, and it's starting to look more finished," Harwood said. "There's a boatload of work going on inside."
Harwood said buildings B and C are undergoing final elements of construction such as putting in glass, metal, paint, carpet, etc. Landscaping is also beginning outside.
The two buildings will be complete over the summer and will open to students in fall 2023. They have not yet been named. UO Director of Public Affairs Kay Jarvis said the university recently put out a community survey asking for name suggestions. These names will be brought to the Board of Trustees and decided on before opening.
Phase II of the Hamilton Walton Transformation Project cost $121.3 million for the two buildings. Phase I cost approximately $80 million.
Phase III will tear down Hamilton Hall, which first opened in 1962. In its place, a new green social area will be established to replace the Humpy Lumpy Lawn where Unthank Hall was built. This final part of the project will begin later this year and is estimated to cost $9.9 million.
Harwood said the team has not yet confirmed how many students the two new buildings will be able to hold. They are still determining which rooms may have two beds and which may have three. An original plan estimated 700 beds in building B and 400 beds in building C.
University Hall and Villard Hall
Two of UO's oldest buildings, University Hall and Villard Hall on the northwest side of campus, are receiving upgrades through the Heritage Renovation Project.
The project, which costs about $80 million, is needed deferred maintenance. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems will be modernized, and walls will be moved to create more accommodating classrooms.
"(We're) basically bring it from the 19th century into the 21st century," Harwood said. "Getting them up to date would be, I think, a great addition to the campus."
Harwood said the changes will be a "transformation" for students who frequent the two halls. Externally, the buildings will look similar to how they did when they were first built in the late 1800s. The brick on the outside will get a refresh in some places for a cleaner, more uniform look.
The area between the two halls will also be renovated. Harwood said there will likely be upgraded pavement, benches and other features to make the space more appealing to pedestrians. Currently, the area is a loading dock with a few parking spaces.
This project is estimated to be complete in 2025.
A $90 million deferred maintenance project will give a "facelift" to Huestis Hall on the northeast side of campus on 13th Avenue.
Harwood said the project is mainly internal changes, replacing equipment and infrastructure that's at the end of its useful life, receiving seismic treatment, adding an elevator and creating a more robust research lab space.
Harwood said some locals might notice the Huestis looking a bit cleaner after workers remove buildup on the outside of the building.
UO recently completed the design development phase of Knight Campus' building 2 and is wrapping up the design process.
Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, located on Riverfront Parkway, will consist of three buildings, the first of which opened in 2021. The project is intended to double the campus' capacity for research.
Demolition has begun at the property to make way for construction.
"A lot of the trees have been either cut down or relocated," Harwood said.
This phase is estimated to cost $300 million, $75 million more than originally anticipated due to inflation. The new Knight Campus building will be completed in the second half of 2025.
Knight Library Restoration
The Knight Library near the center of campus is undergoing external upgrades. The project focuses on the north side of the building where moss has built up and discolored the brick.
The project is still in its design phase, but Harwood said the project will focus on restoring the brick, reducing discoloration, sealing any cracks or gaps, and replacing roofs as needed.
The project is expected to be complete in 2025 and will cost about $15 million.
Miranda Cyr reports on education for The Register-Guard. You can contact her at [email protected] or find her on Twitter @mirandabcyr.