Construction on the Nick and Lou Martin University Center is moving right along and despite 25 days lost to bad weather, its completion date in July remains the same, according to Director of Facilities Brian Franks.

Before the university closed for winter break, the steel structure of the building had been completed, Franks said Thursday. Since the break, the building has been skinned in sheathing which has been waterproofed; that is the gray material that can be seen now from the outside.

“While certain things have slipped in the schedule, the overall completion date is still what it was originally stated at,” Franks said. “Right now, we’re tracking along just as we should be, considering all the rain we’ve received. So, some things are ahead of schedule, some things are not. All in all, we’re right where we need to be to complete the building in July.”

Franks said that over the break the interior framing, plumbing rough end, mechanical systems, duct work, and air conditioning had all been completed, and the construction team is now more than halfway done installing drywall on one side of all the walls. Electrical rough end is also complete, and they’ve already started pulling wiring for the inside.

Franks also said that since students and faculty have returned from the break, scaffolding has also been installed in order to begin masonry.

So, what can we expect to see done during this semester?

Franks said that by May the landscaping will be done, the exterior will be finished, and the interior will be mostly done before completing the flooring and finalizing finishes.

People can see the current progress by coming to the Martin Center foundation signing on Tuesday during free period, from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Student Affairs will be providing free hot chocolate and coffee.

According to Ann Davis, senior director of communications, President Fred Slabach will give a brief welcome, Dr. Gladys Childs, dean of the School of Arts and Letters, will give a blessing, and SGA President Alyssa Hutchinson will lead the way to the entrance of the building.

“Everyone should wear comfortable shoes – we will walk up a gravel pathway to the building. We hope this is a memorable event for everyone!” Davis wrote in an email. “Staff will pass out markers at the entrance of the building. From there, it is a come-and-go event. We encourage participants to sign their name and a message, return the marker, then move out to allow plenty of room for everyone.”

Hutchinson said she is thrilled to be the first student to be allowed into the building.

“I’m super excited; it’s such an honor,” Hutchinson said, adding that the only two people who have already signed the foundation are donors.

For more information on Tuesday’s foundation signing, go to txwes.edu.

Construction on the Martin Center is scheduled to continue into the summer.
Photo by Elizabeth Lloyd