Jacobs faculty office space expands, construction to end next summer
Construction began in April 2011 for the new Faculty Studio Building, located on the northeast corner of Third Street and Jordan Avenue.
Eugene O’Brien, executive associate dean at the Jacobs School, said it took a couple years to secure the funding and complete a space assessment with campus officials and the University Architect’s Office.
The estimated cost for the project is $44 million, which the Jacobs School received in a grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc.
“The purpose is not to increase the number of faculty or students but to accommodate what we already have,” O’Brien said. “We have been out of space for a long time. We’ve converted every possible space in the current buildings that can be converted into teaching spaces, including bathrooms.”
Paul Sullivan, deputy vice president of the University Architect’s Office, has worked closely with the team planning the details, which will include 84 faculty studios, administrative offices and graduate student spaces.
“From an architectural perspective, the only thing really special is we put a lot of effort into soundproofing the individual rooms,” Sullivan said.
The construction, which has caused partial closure of Jones Avenue the roadway between Read Residence Center and the Faculty Studio Building is expected to be completed by July 2013.
O’Brien said the Jacobs School also has a plan for renovations to some of the seven buildings faculty currently occupy, which will need to be done step-by-step while they are in use.
“Our most recent addition is used for performance faculty and was built in 1960, so it’s already a half century old,” O’Brien said. “A lot of the studios in that building have no windows, and since the performance faculty spends their entire days in the studios teaching, those are not really desirable spaces.”
He said current offices in Sycamore Hall will also have the opportunity to move to an existing building with the expansion.
As freshman move-in day approaches, construction near Read becomes less ideal.
“The very beginning was a challenge for anyone that lived in that area,” Sullivan said. “They had to do a lot of drilling to get the limestone out of the site.”
He said the crew intends to have Jones Avenue open before Aug. 15. But additional construction in the area makes the situation unpredictable.
“Move-in day is already pretty congested on IU’s road system, and it can only get worse as we have less parking and moving space on Jones Avenue,” said Mike Griesi, a summer housing assistant in Read.
“I think John (Summerlot, Read residence manager) requested they move back the gates so there is more room for cars. We’re trying to work with the construction company, but they still need to build, and it’ll be a tough situation.”
Griesi, a senior and guitar performance major said he would have liked to have the facilities during his time at IU.
“For someone that lives in Read and is around Read, it will be nice when it’s over,” Griesi said. “But I’m glad they’re building some more modern facilities for the music school, since it certainly needs it.”