Big construction projects at local universities

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It appears several area colleges may be recession-proof. There are more than 150 million dollars in construction projects underway right now at the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University.

At VCU there are two construction projects underway, another four at the University of Richmond. Both schools say if you can afford it, now is the time to build.

The clanking of construction means money and jobs during a recession and there's plenty of that going on at two area colleges. VCU is in the middle of building a 47 million dollar gym for students on Cary Street. And there's the nearly 16 million dollar gym and dining hall underway on the MCV campus.

That's on top of the 22 million dollar dentistry school, which just opened in June. Construction is booming.

"Projects that we may have gotten 2 or 3 firms interested in, now we're seeing 12 and 15 firms who are submitting proposals," said Brian Ohlinger, VCU VP of Facilities Management.

The University of Richmond has more construction underway right now than in its 100 year history on this campus.

"We're supporting the equivalent of 270 full time year round jobs in the Richmond market place right now and we're pleased to do that," said John Hoogakker.

From the 8,700 seat new Market Stadium to the new 20 million dollar Weinstein International Center, there are four construction projects going on simultaneously.

"It makes great business sense if you're in a position to build there's great value cause pricing is good," said Hoogakker.

And the work is not going to end anytime soon. VCU is about to build a more than 150 million dollar medical school and 44 million dollar classroom building. The school is not only expecting great deals, but says the construction will help the local economy.

"Because it's a way of invigorating the market. To get the dollars up in the market and get it out relatively quickly," said Brain.

Most of these projects are scheduled to be finished by the fall of 2010.

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