Craft Center parking woes continue

The construction site of the Wildcat Coal Lodge near the Joe Craft Center on June 6, 2011 in Lexington, KY

By Jarrod Thacker

Summer brings further construction on the new UK men’s basketball dormitory, the Wildcat Coal Lodge, which is encroaching upon employee parking places in the process.

According to Capital Project Manager David Collins, only 50 of the 150 parking places available at the E Lot adjacent to the Joe Craft Center and building site will be available during construction.

Any person that normally parks in this area may need to seek other available parking during this time, UK Parking & Transportation Services said on its website.

Once the building is completed, projected in March 2012, 17 more parking spots will be made available, said Collins.

However, the estimated date of completion may need to be pushed back due to delays that were met early in the project.

“Completion of the foundation system for the building was delayed by the excessive rains this spring, and by subsurface conditions found that were not reflected in the geotechnical report that had been generated,” Collins said.

Adding to the delay, the project bid also came in over budget in July 2010, which caused designers to reduce the size of the building and the number of available beds from 36 to 32 and deleting a team room. Donors increased the project budget as a result, from $7 million to $8.05 million, to increase its scope.

The Codell Construction Company began working on the Wildcat Coal Lodge, whose name has drawn controversy due to its affiliation with the coal industry, in February after the project was successfully re- bid, Collins said.

Including basement and penthouse spaces, the three-story dorm will be 20,911 gross square feet, and is expected to achieve a LEED certification.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is an internationally recognized green building certification system used to help implement environmentally conscious building design, construction, operation and maintenance solutions, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

The new dorm, located directly beside of the Joe Craft Center, is replacing the Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge that was built in 1978.

According to Collins, the old dorm was in need of an upgrade to remain in service.

After receiving renovations in 2000 to address safety and systems issues, another project to renovate the former dorm was planned by the Capital Project and Bond Oversight Committee in January 2009, but was cancelled when donors offered to fund the construction of the Wildcat Coal Lodge.

A decision to determine what is to become of the Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge has not been made at this time.