Anticipation has been mounting, as have construction efforts for Weatherford College’s new academic building.
Ground-breaking for the new structure began in October of last year, and Hill and Wilkinson General Contractors have worked steadily to make the August completion date.
The new 40,600-square-foot building is located west of the Doss Student Center and south of the Allied Health Building on the site where the college’s original bell and an arch made of stones from Old Main stood.
Tuesday morning, Weatherford College president Kevin Eaton made the rounds with a contractor to view the nearly-completed project.
“There are still a few minor things, but for the most part, it looks great,” he said.
The cost of the building comes out to around $160 per square feet, for a total of about $6.5 million.
“We’ve been making sure the cost and the construction fit with our needs and our budget,” Eaton said. “Currently, we’re under budget, and we’ve still got about $10 million in reserves for emergencies and that type of thing.
“We’ve changed things up as the facility has been constructed and the contractors have worked with us every step of the way to get us the building that we wanted.”
The primary goal of the building is to provide more space and opportunities for students, as enrollment has increased steadily the past few years.
The academic building will house 10 classrooms, two lecture halls, one applied research center for tutoring, eight labs, restrooms and 13 faculty offices.
“We started moving the furniture in Tuesday, such as desks, bookshelves, workstations for the computer labs, etc.,” Eaton said. “We’ve got the 13 offices for faculty and staff, but everything else about the building is instructional.”
The two lecture halls, which are a bit smaller than the ones located in the E.W. Mince Administration Building, will house 68 people each. Classrooms are equipped with light sensors, to help conserve energy, and all labs are outfitted with vent-a-hoods and workrooms between every two labs.
“For the money we had to work with, the progress and the results have been exceptional,” Eaton said.
Outside facilities include a picnic area, with tables and benches, and flag and memorial plazas.
“They’re going to be grinding down the concrete [around the plazas] and then color and stain it, so it’s going to look completely different when it’s finished,” Eaton said.
The memorial plaza is home to several items from Weatherford College history, including several benches which were donated by previous classes and the Old Main bell and arch.
An area in the memorial plaza has been cut out and will be filled with donation bricks honoring each donor.
Other outside construction, including landscaping, is scheduled to start next week, with the irrigation systems already in place.
Top soil for the landscape areas is expected to be placed Tuesday, and grass and plants were estimated to go down next week.
To introduce the public to the new structure, Weatherford College will be hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 22 at 11:30 a.m.