Bids were accepted this week, and construction will begin soon on a new academic building at Fort Hays State University.
The Center for Networked Learning will provide about 37,150 square feet, including 1,400 square feet of "shell space" for future growth. It will house the Virtual College, the Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning Technology, the Department of Informatics, the radio and TV studios, and laboratories for FHSU's new information systems engineering program.
Paul-Wertenberger Construction Inc. of Hays submitted the winning bid of $8,058,000, including alternates. Other local contractors for the project are RDH Electric and Werth Heating Plumbing and AC. The architect is a firm located in Westwood, Kan., called PGAV Architects. The total cost for the project, including the sub-contracts, will be about $10 million, which was the engineer's estimate.
"We welcome Paul-Wertenberger as our general contractor for the project," said Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president. "We're also pleased that RDH and Werth got sub-contracts. Under state bidding rules, we are required to accept low bids, which is a good fiscal policy. However, we are very pleased when the bids go to local contractors. We are committed to stimulating the local economy in every way we can."
The projected completion date of the Center for Networked Learning is June 1, 2014, which will be in time for the start of the 2014-2015 academic year.
The new academic building will complete an ambitious array of four major construction projects at FHSU. The first -- an extension of Dwight Drive -- was completed in July 2012. Dwight Drive previously began at Elm Street and dead-ended on the west at the Wooster Place housing complex. Now it continues to curve northwest around the levee along Big Creek and connects with Gustad Drive, the road that goes from the main campus to Gross Memorial Coliseum. The extension of Dwight Drive provides access to the site of a parking lot for the future Center for Networked Learning.
The total project cost for the road, which was built by Apac-Kansas Inc. of Hays, was about $500,000, which included $420,000 for construction, $50,000 for design and some miscellaneous costs.
Another recent capital project is the Schmidt/Bickle Indoor Training Facility, which is nearing completion. It is scheduled to open at the end of May. With a cost of nearly $4.2 million, the indoor athletic training facility is located at the southeast corner of the FHSU campus near the football stadium. The 50,400-square-foot facility will be equipped with weights, cardio equipment, a four-lane synthetic track, an artificial-cover surface that will extend 65 yards, and meeting and entertainment rooms.
The fourth project is the Tiger Place residential facility on the site of the former Agnew Hall. The first phase of Tiger Place, with 123 beds, opened before the start of the current academic year. The second phase, which will provide an additional 107 beds, will open in fall 2013. The total cost for the Tiger Place project is $9.2 million. Paul-Wertenberger Construction is the developer/contractor for the Tiger Place project.