Two Ferris State University residence hall sites find contractors engaged in significant activity as the campus profile changes ahead of the $29.5 million Center for Virtual Learning construction.
Physical Plant Senior Project Manager Joe Haupt said Vandercook Hall is the current
focal point as summer begins. However, work began before the 2020-21 academic year
ended to prepare Taggart Hall for demolition.
“In April, contractors were moving through prep work from the upper floors downward, such that activity in June will be based in the first floor of that building,” Haupt said. “Their abatement tasks will continue through the lowest levels of the building, ahead of the demolition crews’ advance to bring Taggart Hall down.”
Haupt said since students and staff were living in Vandercook Hall until the first part of May, all grounds work and other efforts had to wait, but most of the contractors involved in abatement are now on the job of demolition preparations at that site.
“The process for abatement in Vandercook follows the same pattern as in Taggart, and the removal of infrastructure there will not be as extensive,” Haupt said. “To follow our schedule for site development, as it relates to the CVL construction project, we intend to have Vandercook Hall razed by early July.”
Haupt said they expect to have Taggart Hall demolished by the first week of August.
The Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget is currently following a review process on plans for the Center for Virtual Learning, which will be located at the Vandercook site between Hallisy Hall and the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education (FLITE). The Center for Virtual Learning development has $22 million in state of Michigan funding as a Capital Outlay Project, and Haupt said that government approval of their drawings is required accordingly.
“Once the DTMB concurs, our construction management firm can solicit estimates on project pricing,” Haupt said. “The best-case scenario for this aspect of the project would see negotiations wrapped up by the end of July, with awards made to subcontractors almost immediately thereafter.”
Haupt said their optimal timeline for developing the Center for Virtual Learning would find the foundation for the center laid before students return to campus for fall classes. He said the work to create a green space on the Taggart Hall parcel is sufficiently set back from South and State streets that it will not restrict campus vehicular traffic.
“Even in the Center for Virtual Learning construction area, we do not anticipate needing to close North Campus Drive for north or southbound travel,” Haupt said. “There may be days where partial closure is required when we reach the point of demolition on those higher sections of Vandercook Hall so that safety is assured for motorists and contractors.”