A mix of wet weather and unforeseen circumstances has put the Bietz Center for Student Life five to six months behind schedule, according to Marty Hamilton, associate vice president of financial administration.
Hamilton attributes the delay to the contractors’ limited five-days-a-week work schedule, costly corrections that have affected the building progress and rain.
“Rain was one of the issues, but when the steel was coming up, we found out that bolts in the foundation wall were in the wrong place,” Hamilton said. “And this wasn’t the university’s fault. This was one of our contractors’ fault. So, the university did not have to pay, but we had to go through a correction. The steel came back down, and it had to be re-engineered. We lost three weeks right there.”
The team plans to have the building completed at the end of 2020, but no official date has been announced, according to Hamilton. Still, there are further obstacles for the opening day, he said.
“The local city here also requires that we have a landscaping plan. So that means all the sidewalks, all the lighting, all the landscaping around the building has to be done before we can get an occupancy permit. So, I can get the building built and ready to go; but, unless I have everything done, I can’t occupy [it],” Hamilton said.
Students have expressed mixed reactions to the delay.
“I understand that you must have some landscaping rules, but practically speaking it is kind of frustrating,” said Kari Remmers, freshman nursing major.
“For me, it doesn’t make that much of a difference, since I would not be seeing it anyway, which is too bad,” said Joi McClellani, senior music major.
Southern broke ground for the building on April 28, 2016, and started construction in July 2018. The building is designed for student support activities, including a new eatery, student support services and space for students to hang out.