Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Matt Dull shares updates concerning construction projects on Appalachian's campus, including changes to parking in Stadium Lot, access to Duck Pond Field and building progress for the parking deck at the site of former Winkler Hall.
Dave Blanks: Matt Dull, welcome back to the studio for another update on campus construction.
Matt Dull: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, sure, I appreciate you coming down. What's the latest on the construction on the west side of campus, which is what we're focusing on?
Matt Dull: This past week, we've got ... site fencing went up around the construction site for building 100 and 200. If you've been over on west campus this week, you've seen fencing around the Duck Pond Field area, going up Stadium Drive and Jack Branch Drive, and you've seen a slightly smaller Stadium Lot parking lot to make room for the construction site for building 200.
Dave Blanks: Yes, I did notice that change, and I've also noticed somebody from Parking and Traffic stationed down there. What are they doing?
Matt Dull: The Parking and Traffic folks are handing out flyers to students and others that are trying to park in the Stadium Lot, to let them know what areas are good to park in. And they're also out there just trying to make sure that everyone is able to safely navigate the change in traffic pattern down at the parking lot.
Dave Blanks: OK, I think that's a wise thing to have. How long are they going to be there?
Matt Dull: They'll be out there probably for a few more days, but ...
Dave Blanks: OK, I got you.
Matt Dull: ... other than that, it's just normal enforcement.
Dave Blanks: So what else is there, going on?
Matt Dull: We've been removing some of the trees around Duck Pond Field that we're not able to relocate. Some of them are either too large or they're just not healthy enough to relocate around the project. But there are a number of trees that are healthy enough that we can move from where they are in Stadium Parking Lot. We'll be holding those and keeping them alive, and actually moving them to another site in the project when all of the buildings are done. So, we're actually going to be able to reuse a good number of the trees, and that's a really important part of the project, and it's certainly helping save cost, but it's also sustainably appropriate for the project.
Matt Dull: We've also spent the past week or two excavating rock for the foundations for the parking deck. And that makes way for us to be able to start pouring concrete footings, so that the parking structure could be placed on those footings. A lot of that work started in the past week or so.
Dave Blanks: OK, so that one's getting underway, and the footers are already poured? Or they're —
Matt Dull: We've started pouring footers as we have nice, dry days. A little bit warmer days coming up, so really important when pouring concrete. We'll be finishing up those in the next several weeks. So, that's continuing on this week and probably for a few more weeks as we get ready to go up on the parking deck, as we start bringing in some of the precast structure of the parking deck.
Dave Blanks: All right, so what else we got going on, Matt?
Matt Dull: This week, as soon as we get a dry day or two, we will be painting a pedestrian path through the site to help residents of Eggers and Bowie, up on the hill above the Stadium Parking Lot, safely make their way towards campus. That's been a request from a few students, so we're going to be putting that in as soon as we get a couple dry days. That's also to help people that are parking in Stadium Lot have a nice, clear path marked out on the ground on how to get to the rest of campus. So that'll be going on sometime this week, as soon as we get a dry day.
Dave Blanks: OK, so that's a temporary path during this construction period.
Matt Dull: That's correct, temporary path during the construction period.
Dave Blanks: Any other updates?
Matt Dull: We'll continue to be removing sidewalks and other smaller structures within that construction fencing that folks see in building 100, 200 sites, so Duck Pond Field and Stadium Lot. That'll continue going on in the next couple of weeks as we get ready to actually start building the foundations of the new building.
Dave Blanks: All right, so thank you for the updates. We'll handle a couple of questions that we've received. As you mentioned, the parking spaces are fewer now. So, did we have to take that many parking spaces?
Matt Dull: We took the minimum number of parking spaces that we could for the project. We have to have enough parking spaces and enough area that we can build the foundation of the buildings, as well as the utilities. We're having to reroute storm water, a steam line, water lines, all sorts of other utilities under the ground. And that's requiring us to take up some of that space that's already fenced off.
Matt Dull: It's for the building itself; it's for all the utilities that serve that building; and it's to give our construction workers enough room to actually make their way around the building as they're working on different parts of it. We took the bare minimum amount that we needed for this first phase of the project, and try to keep as many parking spaces available as possible in that Stadium Lot for the spring semester.
Dave Blanks: So, with the changes to Duck Pond Field, which are now very evident to anyone who walks by there, people have once again raised some concerns about the green space that is going to be lost on that side of campus. So can you kind of speak to that? The way you explained it to me, which I thought was cool, is that it's like we're picking up Duck Pond Field, in a way?
Matt Dull: Right. As we all know, Duck Pond Field has been that special place on campus, people have lots of memories of tailgating and of warm days being out there, doing pep rallies. And we don't want that to change. So, Duck Pond Field, the replacement of Duck Pond Field, really is going to be the new core of this west campus project.
Matt Dull: If you can imagine taking Duck Pond Field, as it is now, and rotating it about 90 degrees, that's going to be the new location of a new green space on campus. It'll be right in the center of building 100, 200, and 300 of this project.
Matt Dull: In addition to that, where Justice Hall is now, we're building that building 400; we're a few years out from that. But as we finish that building, we'll actually have more flat green space kind of in the center of that building. It's going to be a horseshoe-shape building, and the center part's actually going to be a large, flat green space, which will be able to be enjoyed every day by our students, as well as be potential places for things like tailgating or other big campus events that we may have.
Matt Dull: So, in the end, I think we'll end up with even more green space than we have now. Having green space and natural spaces on campus is really a core part of what Appalachian State is. I think it's one of the big reasons why Appalachian students choose to come here, it's why many of us choose to stay here, and we want to make sure that feel is part of this project.
Matt Dull: Developing these green spaces and these large courtyard areas among these buildings really was a central part of why we did the design we did. Really moving away from a large parking lot as being the center part of that campus, and really moving towards green space being the center part of that residential part of our campus.
Matt Dull: So, we're really excited about the possibility of all the new green space that's going to be on west campus when the project's done. And it's going to be quality green space, so it’s talking about spaces that have better drainage and being a better green space on campus that students can enjoy and alumni can be proud to come back to, and then also enjoy football games or during other special events on campus.
Dave Blanks: Because there's not a Sanford Mall on that side.
Matt Dull: That's right. It really is creating this quality green space on campus that generations of students can really enjoy moving forward.
Dave Blanks: It's exciting.
Matt Dull: It's going to take us a couple years to get there, but when we get there I think it's going to be something that students are really excited about. That area's going to feel more alive, because it's more usable green space on west campus. I really care deeply about that space.
Dave Blanks: I know, yeah, me too.
Matt Dull: I think our administrators and our students and our alumni — I think everyone cares deeply about having quality green spaces on campus that students can enjoy and alumni can come back and be really proud of and excited about using.
Dave Blanks: It's our identity.
Matt Dull: It's our identity. Yeah.
Dave Blanks: It's important.
Matt Dull: It is.
Dave Blanks: Thanks, Matt.
Matt Dull: Absolutely.
Dave Blanks: All right, we'll do another one, when we have some more updates. I appreciate your time, and have a fantastic day.
Matt Dull: Sounds great. Thanks for the time.