Heavy CULC construction begins this week

With the continuation of breaking ground, heavy construction for the Clough Undergraduate Learning Center (CULC) is underway. As of earlier last week, the team responsible for the CULC have shifted to the next phase of its construction, including large digging of soil and other earth in the area that was formerly Yellow Jacket Park.

Until Jan. 2010, the construction team will be excavating over 31,000 cubic yards of soil and installing walls next to the library. The contractors will then install underground utilities and the foundation with plans for the building structure’s completion in Sept. 2010.

“We anticipate construction to move into full swing in the coming months and remain optimistic for a Fall 2011 opening,” said Barrett Carson, Vice President for Development.

“Construction of a facility this size in the center of campus is certainly a challenge, particularly for those in the surrounding buildings. The contractor is taking all reasonable measures to minimize disruptions as much as possible,” said John Duconge, Senior Project Manager.

Although the construction will proceed for the duration of the semester, the site will be quiet for the weeks of final exams, graduation and home football games. This will also be the case for all future semesters until the CULC’s completion.

The pathway between the library and Crosland Tower is also expected to reopen by Nov. 13, reopening a commonly used walkway. The Tech Green, which was originally closed for sewer repair, will reopen in early December.

Tech administrators also plans for a Town Hall discussion in January to identify the upcoming construction activities and possible detours.

Students will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the construction.

Upcoming construction includes the direct connection between the CULC and the library. The new building will connect to the library at the main entrance and lower levels.

“The concept for the [CULC] has always sought to integrate the west face of the Price Gilbert Library to take advantage of natural synergies between the two. The two will connect, in fact, on several levels to provide seamless movement between the two,” Carson said.

The project, whose plans began in the 1990s following the arrival of former President G. Wayne Clough, was originally put on hold due to “state budgeting issues and institutional priorities,” according to Carson.

However, an initial private donation of $8 million created momentum for the CULC in the later years of Clough’s presidency, culminating in an additional $60 million from the state and $25 million in private philanthropy. The private component includes a $5 million donation from an Atlanta-area foundation and an anonymous promise “to match 1:1 gifts and commitments designated for the project up to a maximum of $8.75 million,” Carson said.

“In anticipation of pledge fulfillments and final state appropriations, the Institute is utilizing internal borrowing to keep the project on track and to avoid any further delays,” Carson said, in response to the amount of time the project is otherwise taking.

“Simultaneous to [the CULC’s] construction will be an enhancement to the adjacent Tech Green and Skiles Walkway…At more than 200,000 gross square feet, the facility will be a stunning testimony to Tech’s commitment to undergraduate education and will stand as a beacon of sustainability,” Carson said.