The Board voted in favor of a new central building to replace some of the classrooms in older buildings like Haley Center, Upchurch, Funchess and Spindle halls.
Most of these buildings were constructed between the ’50s and ’60s, and many of their internal systems will soon need to be replaced.
The air conditioning and heating units, fire alarm system, windows and roofs are some of the needed upgrades on the list.
The belief among the members of the Board is the classrooms currently do not allow for flexibility in learning or the ability to adapt to new learning environments.
“The old classrooms lack technology,” said Auburn University provost and vice president of Academic Affairs Mary Ellen Mazey.
“From a facilities standpoint, those buildings shown (Haley Center, Upchurch, Funchess and Spidle halls) are pretty much the worst buildings on campus,” said Dan King, assistant vice president of Facilities Management in a 2010 meeting.
The Board has not decided on a location for the new building, though members would like to keep it somewhere easily accessible for students.
The new building will likely be located somewhere in the heart of campus, near the Student Center.
“We wanted it to be something central and convenient to both students and faculty,” Mazey said.
Members of the Board and Facilities Committee also said they don’t want to expand the campus, instead opting to try to keep the new buildings somewhere between the Ralph Brown Draughon Library and Haley Center.
The old buildings are not yet scheduled to be demolished, and no official word was given on when the project is set to be underway.
“It isn’t going to replace the Haley Center,” Mazey said. “Just some of the buildings in the Haley Center.”
The same is true for Spindle, Funchess, and Upchurch halls.
Many Auburn students had both positive and negative thingsto say about the new building project.
Adam Milton, sophomore in chemical engineering, is one such student. He said he believes that a new building able to house cutting edge technology is necessary, Milton doesn’t think all four class centers must be replaced.
“I feel that this building needs to replace Parker and Spindle Hall, not Haley, since it is newer compared to Parker,” Milton said.
Milton also believes the transfer of classes from building to building will be an unnecessary inconvenience.
“Haley is a building that houses so many colleges,” Milton said. “And I believe transferring all those classes to some new building during the construction phase will be a huge hassle.”
Other than practical reasons, Milton is also concerned about the impact the project will have on university traditions. For many freshmen, Haley Center becomes like a second home.
“Finding your way around Haley as a freshman is one of those iconic traditions that we all go through as a student here,” Milton said.
The Board also approved the decision to begin the selection process for a construction manager and architect for the buildings.
An exact date to begin construction has not been established, although the building project has been given top priority.
The project is estimated to cost $200 million and will likely cover approximately 77,000 square feet of campus. The new buildings will include classrooms, student meeting areas, seminar rooms and other gathering places for faculty and students.
Plans for the project were first presented Sept. 27, and the Board reached the agreement June 17.