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UND summer construction underway despite long, wet spring

This summer, UND's campus will see the completion of the Nistler College of Business and Public Administration, demolition of residence halls and road construction.

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Exterior construction is nearly finished on the Nistler College of Business and Public Administration at UND and interior areas are beginning to be furnished. The project is on track to have faculty move in by the end of summer.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — Summer is generally a busy time for construction projects on UND’s campus, and between new road projects and ongoing building construction, this summer is no different, says Brian Larson, UND director of construction management.

“Even with our late spring and poor weather, everyone’s been working really hard,” Larson said. “I’m really impressed with all the work that’s been done so far this summer break.”

This summer will see the completion of the Nistler College of Business and Public Administration, which has been under construction since fall 2020. Exterior work on the new Nistler College of Business and Public Administration is nearing completion, Larson said, and inside, furniture is starting to be installed in completed areas. Faculty will be able to move from Gamble Hall to the new Nistler building by the end of the summer.

Then, over the 2022-23 winter break, faculty and staff in Merrifield Hall move into Gamble Hall.

“That will set the stage for the upcoming renovation in Merrifield,” said Larson.

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In the center of campus, crews are working to extend the Second Avenue pedestrian mall and replace Centennial Drive with a pedestrian-focused access. In both areas, there will be new sidewalks and parking areas, and later in the summer, new landscaping and lighting. Larson says the goal is to finish the bulk of work during the summer break.

“Building access will be available, but there will certainly be work that will extend well into the fall semester,” he said.

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In an ongoing revamp of student housing, renovations at Brannon Hall are nearly complete, and McVey and West Hall are under construction. Brannon Hall will be ready for students by move-in day.

McVey will be completed around Nov. 1. Students moving into McVey will live in Walsh Hall for the beginning of the semester, and then move to McVey later in the fall when it is completed.

“I think once they see how amazing these residence halls are, and the rooms and all the amenities, I think that will help to put a bright side on a mid-semester move,” said Larson.

The new West Hall is scheduled to be completed in summer 2023.

The construction of Brannon, McVey and West will allow for the demolition of other residence halls, starting with Bek Hall and Hancock Hall, which are being prepared for demolition later this summer. Preparation will include removing asbestos and furniture from the buildings and disconnecting utilities.

The construction and demolition of residence halls is part of a plan that will eliminate an estimated $200 million in deferred maintenance costs and reduce the number of beds on campus from more than 3,300 to 1,998, a number closer to the number of students living on campus.

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Larson says all of UND is eagerly awaiting the construction on the new Memorial Village , which could start within the year. Memorial Village will be a five-floor building where the old Memorial Stadium stood. The first floor will be leased by UND from the UND Foundation for athletic offices, while the top four floors will be apartments considered off-campus housing.

Larson says he is pleased with the extent that UND has been transformed over the last few years.

“I really appreciate everyone’s patience and willingness to live through all the heavy construction that happens every summer out here on this campus,” said Larson. “We’re making huge strides in our overall campus beautification, as well as our investment in reducing deferred maintenance.”

Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or iharbo@gfherald.com. Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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