3 levels of garage to open this month

By Erica Mitchell

After nearly two years of construction, three levels of a new parking garage on South Limestone Street will open this month, followed by the destruction of an existing garage.

The parking structure between Conn Terrace and Transcript Avenue is one part of the $650 million of construction projects UK will undertake over the next four years, including the new UK Chandler Hospital, the student health facility and College of Pharmacy building, said Dall Clark, UK’s capital construction manager.

The plan on the parking garage had always been to open the first three levels of the seven-story structure before the rest, Clark said.

To accommodate the ongoing work, the construction company is taking additional precautions, such as installing a covered walkway out of the structure and placing barricades in openings to protect cars from falling objects. The company wanted to get the new structure open on Nov. 19 so it could start demolition of the old garage, Clark said.

Another level of the parking structure will open in December, and the remaining three levels will open in March, Clark said. The structure will have approximately 1,600 parking spaces, making it the largest parking structure on campus.

The demolition of Parking Structure No. 4 will begin Nov. 26 to provide space for the construction of the new hospital.

Clark said the completion of the garage is critical to the construction of the hospital, which is being built in two phases.

“Right now we are really hustling to get done (with the parking garage),” he said. “It is the footprint of the patient care facility.”

Once the hospital is complete — with patient-care units, a new emergency department and new operating rooms — an elevated pedestrian walkway across South Limestone Street will connect the new parking structure to the hospital lobby. Until then, a shuttle service will run between the garage, Kentucky Clinic and the hospital.

Phase one of the hospital construction should be completed by 2011 and phase two by 2018, Clark said. Decisions about whether the old hospital will remain standing will be made closer to those dates, he said.

Another main construction project on campus is the new student health facility, which will feature student clinic spaces, a pharmacy, a conference room and department administrative offices. Construction of the facility should be completed by the end of April, and the building will be ready to use by the summer, Clark said.

The new College of Pharmacy building, once completed in December 2009, will be the largest pharmacy education building in the world.

UK also plans to replace central steam and condensate piping systems by mid-November, said Bob Wiseman, UK’s vice president for facilities management.