By Andrew Hebert–
The University of Louisville held a groundbreaking event for the Student Activities Center renovations on Aug. 31. The construction will take nearly two years and cost more than $40 million, but is just one of many projects around campus.
The SAC renovations are the talk of campus right now, with most students excited about the opening of a Panda Express restaurant and a new Mark’s Feed Store. But there’s much more than new cuisine.
“There’s going to be six new dining locations, 16 new meeting rooms and more flexible and dedicated large function space,” U of L CFO Harlan Sands said.
When the SAC is complete in fall 2018, there will be an Amazon store, 90 percent of the building will have been adjusted, 112,000 square feet of space will be added and a full Starbucks will be operating with indoor and outdoor seating. These renovations will take place in stages, but construction should not cause too many operational problems for students.
Another project that is nearly complete is the Floyd Street redesign. The biggest and arguably most controversial aspect of this project has been the new traffic circle located right by The Nine.
“I like it. At first I was a little confused, but after driving it a couple times I realized how easy it is to operate and how it keeps traffic moving quicker than a stoplight,” sophomore Cami Jones said.
“Personally, I love the roundabout. I’ve seen some interesting approaches by people but everyone seems to be adapting,” SGA President Aaron Vance said.
Another construction site right in the heart of campus is the Confederate Monument. The monument has been a topic of heated debate for more than a year now, but the decision to remove it from campus was made final over the summer. As the city looks for a suitable location, the fencing will continue to surround the statue on Third Street.
Lastly, the construction between Lutz Hall and the Shumaker Research building has some historical relevance to the campus. The fencing encloses the Crawford Gym demolition, which will take place before the end of this semester.
Crawford Gym has been a staple on U of L’s campus for just over 50 years, housing basketball games and practices as well as the U of L swimming team’s events. It will be replaced by a brand new state-of-the-art classroom building that, according to Acting President Neille Pinto, will “focus on early students and career development.” The new building will contain classrooms but also a faculty academy that will help train professors on campus.