Ferguson Center to see big expansion



In addition to approving resolutions to continue building the North Bluff Residential Community and creating a digital media center inside The Zone at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Board of Trustees also approved the University’s plans to both renovate and expand Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library and the Ferguson Center during their last meeting.

“While there was no detailed presentation on the items, they are now approved as a stage one submittal,” said Kellee Reinhart, the vice chancellor for system relations for the University of Alabama System. “The next step will be for the UA campus to come back to the Board at a future meeting to request approval of an architect.”

The 50,000-square-foot expansion to Gorgas will double the current seating capacity of the library from 1,139 to 2,278, according to the Annual Consolidated Capital Projects and Facilities Report.

“As the University’s enrollment has increased, students and faculty members have placed an ever-greater demand on the facilities and services provided by the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library,” the report said.

The addition to the campus’ main library is also intended to bring together two logical partners: the library and the Center for Teaching and Learning, the report said, as the expansion of Gorgas will allow for the relocation of the CTL from Osband Hall to the library.

A licensed Starbucks will also be created in Gorgas to both compliment Bama Dining options and alleviate the demand currently placed on the Starbucks in the Ferg, the report said.

In addition to enlarging Gorgas Library, trustees also approved construction on the Ferg, estimated to cost $27.5 million.

The construction will add 60,000 square feet to the south end of the building, of which approximately 20,443 square feet will be allocated to the University Supply Store, the report said.

The project will also provide renovations to 99,000 square feet of the existing building, according to the Annual Consolidated Capital Projects and Facilities Report.

“The renovation only includes part of the existing space in Ferguson,” said Cathy Andreen, UA spokeswoman. “Ferguson has undergone numerous renovations over the last few years, so there are many areas that are in good shape.”

In 2010, the Ohio State University opened a new student union similar in square footage to what the Ferg will be after these renovations.

The Columbus, Ohio, portion of the Ohio State campus is home to more than 56,000 students and the new student center, known as the Ohio Union, spans 318,000 square feet, according to a press release from OSU. In comparison, the University is home to more than 31,000 students and, once complete, the Ferg will be more than 285,000 square feet, Andreen said.

OSU students, who spent years before the Union’s construction without a single main student center, have mixed attitudes about the new center.

“On a normal day, it suits my needs just fine,” said Zel Caldwell, an Ohio State senior. “When they’re having a massive event, there’s no way to get from one side to the other.”

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