The Crimson White

Trustees approve campus construction

Amanda Peterson

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The campus skyline will lose a landmark. Plans have begun to bring down the smokestack by B.B. Comer Hall.

The physical properties committee of the UA System Board of Trustees voted Thursday to allow the University to proceed with demolition plans. The board will vote today on the committee’s recommendation.

“The smokestack has been out of operation for a few years now,” said Michael Lanier, who presented the University’s construction plans to the committee. “It has become a maintenance issue for the University.”

The 240-foot tall Central Plant Smokestack was built in 1965, and a modern exhaust system replaced it in 2004.

According to board documents, the University will save $85,000 every five to 10 years in scheduled maintenance and $125,000 in deferred maintenance.

Trustee Jim Wilson asked if the University planned to blow up the smokestack to bring it down, suggesting that a movie production company needing a demolition scene could film it.

Lanier said there were no plans to blow up the structure.

The committee also approved a proposed architectural design for renovations to the Kappa Alpha Theta chapter house on campus. The plans include an addition to the dining room, a new porch and balconies, eight single bedrooms and a new house mother suite.

A proposed design for a surface parking lot across the street from the Student Recreation Center near Bryce Hospital was also approved. The $4.5 million parking lot will accommodate about 1,200 cars, and during the football season, about 200 recreational vehicles will park there.

Gina Johnson, director of auxiliary and support services, said the parking lot will mostly be commuter parking. The parking lot is near an existing CrimsonRide bus stop.

“Another use potentially [for the parking lot] would be our popular softball program when we run out of parking in the area,” Johnson said.

The committee also approved renovations to the softball stadium.

According to board documents, the changes include a new indoor batting practice facility, an addition to the existing clubhouse and a new main entry and lobby area. It will also have new locker rooms for the players and umpires.

Judge John England, a member of the board, asked if there were plans to add more seats to the facility.

“Every time I pass by it, it’s full,” he said.

Bryant said there is space around the stadium where they could try to expand in the future.

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Trustees approve campus construction