Student Life Center work starts Monday

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Work begins Monday on the first eight-story tower of the StudentLife Center on the campus of the Mississippi School of the Arts,but contractors say it will be several months before citizens startto see the building take shape.

“We’re going to start the earth work Monday,” said TommyMcKenzie, project manager for Clarke Construction Co., recipient ofan $8.5 million contract for the project.

McKenzie said the early work will involve moving dirt, removingtrees, placing contractor trailers on site and mobilizingsubcontractors. That process will take about two to threeweeks.

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Also starting early in the project will be drilling 65-feet deeppiling for the building. McKenzie said that work will take aboutthree weeks.

“You really won’t see a lot of progress because it’s allfoundation work,” McKenzie said. “There’s a ton of foundation workthat goes into supporting an eight-story building.”

McKenzie said the concrete structure will be in place in six toeight months.

“It’ll start coming out of the ground in the first threemonths,” McKenzie said.

The first part of the Student Life Center will include adormitory, library, commons area, exercise facilities, aninfirmary, plus areas for resident advisors and dorm parents.Another tower in the second phase, including additional dorm space,will come later.

The scheduled completion date for the first phase is Nov. 12,2002. McKenzie saw no problems in completing the work by then.

“Rain, sleet or snow, we’ll be through by then,” he said.

The base bid for the project was $9.9 million.

However, to award the project within budget, some items had tobe removed. Changes involve some to the building entrance, acovered walkway and removal of bay windows on part of the building,which will be more plain upon completion.

McKenzie said the city was fortunate to have Larry Albert as thearchitect for the building. He also complimented mechanical andelectrical engineering consultants Kilmer Smith and Chuck Farnham,of Brookhaven, for their work.

“They’re a major part of it, too,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said crews were ready to get started.

“We’re excited about it and looking forward to doing it,”McKenzie said, adding that the company was happy to work with Dr.Vicki Bodenhamer, arts school director, and the others on theproject. “It’s a winning team.”