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Higher Education Construction

Though not booming, this market segment seems to have ongoing activity

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By most accounts, 2010 looks to be another rugged year for much of the construction industry, though things may improve a little near year’s end.

In what promises to be a difficult business climate overall, higher-education construction seems to be a relative bright spot.

The College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, Ill., is in the midst of $84 million of renovation and construction for an instructional building and student resource center. The project, scheduled for completion in 2012, will renovate and construct 600,000 sq ft, along with the related storm and sanitary sewers.
Photo: Loebl Schlossman & Hackl

The College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, Ill., is in the midst of $84 million of renovation and construction for an instructional building and student resource center. The project, scheduled for completion in 2012, will renovate and construct 600,000 sq ft, along with the related storm and sanitary sewers.

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That’s not to say college and university construction will be booming, but the segment is predicted to fare better than, say, retail or office construction.

Historical data from McGraw-Hill Construction, of which Midwest Construction Magazine is a unit, show that from 2007 through 2009, higher education construction starts in Illinois rose from $237.9 million to $286.3 million.

Over those three years, Indiana saw higher-education starts drop from $226.2 million to $163.7 million.

In Missouri, starts sat at $169.1 million in 2007, then spiked to $505.7 million in 2008 before dropping back to $131.9 million in 2009.

Wisconsin’s higher-education starts were $156.1 million in 2007, before they shot up to $404.3 million in 2008, then dropped to $176.7 million in 2009.

Although McGraw-Hill doesn’t break out higher-education starts in its forecasts, company analysts predict that total starts for all types of education buildings in the Upper Midwest during 2010 will be 2.9% higher than in 2009, but 15% lower than in 2008.

Though by no means comprehensive, the following survey looks at some of the larger construction projects in progress or on the horizon in the next few years at colleges and universities in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and eastern Missouri.

University of Illinois The University of Illinois has $314.5 million of current projects under construction. The work includes 78 projects ranging in value from $100,000 to $73 million at the Urbana-Champaign campus; 21 projects ranging from $174,950 to $29.6 million at the Chicago campus; and two projects of $104,000 and $129,000 at the Springfield campus.

Looking to the future, the university has $426.3 million worth of work now in the design and bid/award phases. Some $397.2 million of that is in 59 projects planned for the Urbana-Champaign campus, and about $28 million is in eight projects for the Chicago campus.

Among the larger projects now under way is a new $73-million dining facility and residence hall at Ikenberry Commons in Urbana-Champaign. This phase of the Ikenberry Commons redevelopment program will be completed this spring. Future phases will replace all of the Champaign residence halls.

The other large project now under way at the Urbana-Champaign campus is the Petascale Computing Facility, a $72.5-million building that will house a 20,000-sq-ft data center and 10,000 sq ft of other computing infrastructure.

In Rockford, Ill., the university is investing $26.9 million to renovate existing facilities at the college of medicine and to construct a 58,000-sq-ft addition to house the National Center for Rural Health Professions.

The three largest projects now in design and bidding include a $95-million, four-story, 235,000-sq-ft facility...

 

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