UHV construction moves ahead after Hurricane Harvey

By Lauren Emerson
Sept. 30, 2017 at 4:36 p.m.
Updated Oct. 1, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Lauren Hightower-Emerson

Lauren Hightower-Emerson   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

Did Hurricane Harvey have any impact on the University of Houston-Victoria's current construction projects or construction plans for the future?

Contractors are constructing University Commons, a student center and modern library, across Ben Wilson Street from the UHV University Center. Although construction crews were unable to do anything for eight working days, there was no notable damage to the site other than a downed perimeter fence, which has since been repaired.

Construction crews are working on the University Commons foundation. The area has been dug out, and support pieces are being installed. They also are creating an access road that will go around the building.

The university's other construction projects also were not significantly delayed by Hurricane Harvey. However, as people across the area are making repairs and rebuilding after the storm, certain materials, such as Sheetrock, are scarce. The contractor is working to order these materials earlier than required to prevent any delays.

University Commons is anticipated to be complete by August.

UHV also is negotiating contracts with an architect to redesign the former Town Plaza Mall, which will hold the UHV Small Business Development Center; the UHV Regional Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship; Dalkey Archive Press; climate-controlled book storage for the library and press; classrooms; lab and administrative office space; UHV Center for the Arts; the American Book Review; and UHV Transportation.

Because the mall is intended to receive a complete internal renovation, the minor damage caused by the hurricane will be addressed once construction begins. Phase one of the construction, which includes climate-controlled storage for the library, will be finished by August. Phase two will start once master planning and programming for the building has been completed.

North of the University Commons, the university plans to add a residence hall to be named in honor of Don Smith, UHV provost emeritus and the university's interim president on four occasions. The building is in the design stages and is projected to be complete in 2019.

UHV also has purchased the property adjacent to the University Center that will become the site of the university's new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics building. It also is projected to be completed in 2019.

In addition to the plans for new buildings, the university recently received unanimous approval from the Victoria City Council to begin the process of purchasing two lanes of Ben Wilson Street between Red River Street and Airline Road.

The university will narrow Ben Wilson to three lanes, including a turn lane, and expand sidewalks to make the road safer for students to cross.

As UHV continues to grow, we are excited to see how these projects will help expand economic development in the community and bring more educational opportunities to the Crossroads.

Do you have a question about the University of Houston-Victoria? Contact UHV Communications Specialist Lauren Emerson at 361-570-4342 or emersonl@uhv.edu.


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