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Falcon Center construction set to resume in spring

February 18, 2015

Construction of the upcoming Falcon Center is well under way, and the second part of phase one of the building process will continue in the spring, once the temperature drops and the snow melts.

Phase one includes a brand new press box at Ramer Field as the old one was torn down in the fall. The $63 million complex will house the health and human performance department and will be built around Hunt Arena and the Knowles Center, and when complete, the entire complex will be more than 162,000 square feet. This will include a human performance laboratory, gymnasium, dance studio, auxiliary gymnasium, staff offices, locker rooms, training rooms, and classrooms.

With supplies coming from around the whole country, steel and concrete will be coming from local sources around the area with a few coming from the broader Midwest.

Part one of phase one was complete last summer and led into the fall, which included shutting down CM Lot and adding 240 spaces of parking. The curb for the new parking lot was put down, but has not been asphalted yet.

Also, construction teams added two new retention ponds for storm water management, and utilities for the new facility were installed as well.

“We built a new maintenance building so that we have a base to take care of snowplowing and lawn-mowing machinery,” said Campus Planner Dale Braun.

Artificial turf was laid down on Ramer Field, which replaced the grass, and this past football season for the first time, the Falcons played on artificial turf.

With that being completed in the fall, phase two will begin in either late March or early April, depending on the weather. A schedule from the contractors will be provided in a couple of weeks for construction to resume.

This will include laying the asphalt of the new parking lot and the road that leads into the new parking lot. As soon as it is asphalted, the lot will be available for students and faculty to resume parking in those spaces.

Part two will also begin the construction of the press box that will be two levels tall, offering a lot more space for various reasons.

“The lower level will include the concession stand, as well as some storage spaces,” Braun said. “The upper level will have six press boxes and coaches boxes for game management.”

There will also be a “VIP suite” for special guests for the Chancellor to hold receptions during games. The press box should be completed by the fall of this year.

Phase two will begin in the spring and that will consist of building the main building, which will envelop the existing Hunt Arena.

“Seating will be updated and a nice observation platform,” Braun said. “It will be really nice.”

Phase two will also include construction of a new soccer field and softball stadium. The Falcon Center is projected for completion in October of 2016, and the health and human performance department will move in January of 2017. After the move is complete, the Karges Center and the Nelson Physical Education Center will be demolished.