A guide to UNT’s major construction projects

A guide to UNT’s major construction projects

September 26
22:36 2016

Here is a quick look at ongoing construction projects around Denton and the UNT campus.

Roadwork woes

One project that will have a significant effect on the roadways to and from campus is the North Texas Boulevard project. The project involves the construction of a new bridge on North Texas Boulevard that stretches over I-35, said Dave Reynolds, associate vice president of Facilities.

The project has been long in the works, beginning in June 2015 and set to finish in spring 2017, according to the UNT construction obstruction report. Reynolds said that the new bridge is being constructed to accommodate the ever-growing traffic on I-35, as well as the rising student population at UNT.

The bridge will consist of four lanes with U turn lanes to ease the traffic across the bridge, as well as a sidewalk for pedestrian crossing, Reynolds said. He also said that the sidewalks and bridge will be decorated in UNT fashion.

“We’re going to have UNT banners going all the way down the bridge,” Reynolds said. “ We’re also going to have Denton and UNT medallion logos on the embankment on either side of the bridge.”

The lanes are currently being reconstructed at the North Texas Boulevard intersection to allow for easier access to the campus, Reynolds said. A traffic highland is also being built at the intersection to assist in the flow of traffic through the area.

Reynolds said the project also includes the reconstruction of the I-35 access road up to University Drive and is expected to finish with the rest of the project.

Some students aren’t as thrilled about the ongoing construction of the project. Media arts senior Matthew Luna said traffic delays caused by the project have not been communicated properly to students. He said he did not receive an email about the demolition of the previous bridge and was stuck on campus for several hours.

“[The North Texas Boulevard project] will be nice in the long run, but the communication with students has been poorly handled and executed so far,” Luna said.

While the North Texas Boulevard project will continue throughout the school year, another project is currently underway alongside it. The complete reconstruction of Eagle Drive by the Jagoe Public Company is currently posing a problem for many commuters.

The project, which began in early June and is expected to finish Nov. 26, will include completely reconstructing the pavement structure of Eagle Drive. Bill Cheek, vice president of Jagoe Public, said only the road is being reconstructed and the structures along Eagle Drive will remain untouched.

“[The reconstruction] includes replacement of some of the gutters, sidewalks, ADA ramps and correction of some of the drainage issues,” Cheek said.

One of the biggest changes to the Eagle Drive will be the reconfiguration of the lanes. After the project is complete, both sides of the road will be converted to one lane with a shared turn lane in the middle. The project will also add a bike lane to either side of the road.

While the project will expand the number of total lanes on the road, the width and size of the lanes will remain the same.

Construction on the west end of the road is complete and construction crews are currently working on the eastern portion of the road near Carroll Boulevard.

Cheek said that there will be times throughout the construction where the road will be shut down to complete construction, but for the majority of the project the road will have at least one entrance.

On campus projects

While the roads around UNT are being worked on, the campus has some major projects of its own going on as well. One project that will soon be completed is the exterior and interior renovation of the science research building.

For the exterior renovations, Reynolds said that the facade of the building is getting a whole new look.

“They’re adding new windows and new brick all the way around the building,” Reynolds said. “The look will be a little bit more in keeping with the current campus style in that area.”

Inside, the research laboratories on the first floor of the building are currently undergoing renovation. Reynolds said having new and better quality research capabilities will help improve opportunities for students and professors and will help in the overall growth of UNT.

Reynolds said the project has caused some parking issues between contractors and UNT staff but does not see any further parking issues after the completion of the project.

Kinesiology senior Trent Wisdom said he is happy the school is trying to improve its facilities.

For me, any money we spend on money bettering research is money well spent,” Wisdom said. “It’s nice to have things like a new Union, but I’d much rather have better research capabilities for students. 

The project has been in the works since December 2015 and is expected to finish in January 2017.

Reynolds said that there are roughly 75 to 85 projects either being planned or worked on around campus at any given time.

Two of the major upcoming projects planned for UNT are the construction of a new College of Visual Arts and Design building and a new residence hall. The timeline for the new Visual Arts and Design building has yet to be released, but is expected to cost $70 million in tuition revenue bonds, according to a UNT news release.

The new residence hall will open to students in summer 2018 and will cost $44 million. The project will add 500 beds to the campus in 2018, but will not be fully complete until 2019.

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Evan Groom

Evan Groom

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