The dust is beginning to settle at the University of Richmond as $14 million worth of construction winds down.
The year-long projects include a new student activities center, renovations to the library, construction of eight cottages to be used by the school’s sororities and a downtown restaurant.
The activity center, a $5 million project, will officially open the first weekend of November.
UR broke ground on the activities center in late October 2011, but associate vice president for facilities Andrew McBride said the planning has been going on much longer.
“I’ve been at the university for 18 years, and before I got here I worked on a study for this center,” McBride said. “So it goes way back.”
The university’s board of trustees approved the funds for the center and other assorted renovations last spring. McBride said the construction was internally financed, primarily through bond packages.
RVA Construction oversaw the activity center and Boatwright Memorial Library renovations, which McBride said were completed on schedule. The university added more power outlets and table surfaces to the library, as well as a collaborative study area. Library construction ran the university about $2.5 million.
Richmond on Broad Cafe, the school’s first attempt at a downtown lunch joint, is set to open Sept. 10.
Also almost completed are eight small cottages, which will be used predominantly by the university’s sororities.
“Each cottage is more or less identical,” McBride said. “You have a foyer, storage space, a small kitchen and work space. They can be used in different ways.”
Caroline Elia, a UR senior and an officer in the Delta Delta Delta sorority, said she’s looking forward to trying out the new facilities.
“I think these cottages will give us the chance to have our own space, whether it’s to hang out or study,” Elia said. “There are so many different groups at this university — it’ll be nice when we won’t have to compete for event space.”
Now that the activities center, library renovations and restaurant are complete, McBride said the UR facilities department would spend part of the upcoming year planning renovations to the Robins Center sports complex. Work will include updating several offices and meeting rooms inside the space.
“It’s a huge facility that’s very important to the university, so right now we’re trying to break other renovations up into bits and pieces,” McBride said.