Upgrades that will benefit future generations of university students have begun to change and reshape the campus landscape in recent weeks.
Backhoes and other heavy equipment are preparing the land on the east side of Kellogg Drive for a realignment of the road that will create space for two eight-story residence halls. The construction project will permanently close a 500-foot stretch of Eucalyptus Lane, including its intersection at Red Gum Lane, on Friday, May 19.
Drivers will not be able to use that stretch of Eucalyptus. The W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center and other buildings to the east can be accessed via Citrus Lane.
The realigned Kellogg Drive will intersect with Red Gum Lane, eliminating its current looping route next to the Residential Suites and Scolinos Field. The new road will contain four lanes for vehicle traffic, a barrier in the median and a protected bike lane on either side of the roadway.
The current Kellogg Drive will remain open throughout the process until the new route is ready this fall. Drivers will be routed to the new road, and the old configuration will be closed.
“The goal would be to have the new road finished when the students return,” said Dan Johnson, the director of Facilities Design & Construction. “It will be a monumental challenge, but one we are confident in achieving.”
Construction crews will then tear up the old Kellogg Drive and demolish the overpass and underpass along Eucalyptus Lane. The land will be graded so foundations for the new housing can be laid.
The centerpiece of the project is two eight-story halls containing 980 beds. A new dining hall with a marketplace atmosphere will also be built and accommodate 600 diners. The complex also will have a sand volleyball court and a parking lot.
The $185-million project will create a larger and more vibrant residential community and allow future residents to walk to the Bronco Commons, the BRIC, the new CLA replacement building and most of the academic buildings without crossing a street. In addition, the realignment of Kellogg Drive will move traffic further away from the south core of campus and establish a walkable corridor and bicycle-friendly environment.
Work on the CLA replacement building, in Lot C just south of the CLA, is showing signs of progress. The building will take its design cues from the surrounding landscape, with a low-slung and undulating roofline reminiscent of the rolling hillsides that hug the campus. It will contain 138,000 square feet of space.
Walls are going up and steel rebar foundations are sprouting skyward at the site, which is expected to house some of the functions currently contained in the CLA Building.
“There are hundreds of technical details that we have to go through that allow us to do what we’re trying to accomplish here,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t just happen magically.”