Construction companies, fighting a lull in the building industry, may view developments at Kansas University this academic year as a double-edged sword.
No less than $50 million in building projects are scheduled for KU's Lawrence campus and the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.
That's a boon for builders because there isn't a surplus of projects around the country, said Allen Wiechert, university director of facilities planning.
"That's also good for KU," he said. "There is a tendency to have more contractors bid projects. It makes bidding competitive and, maybe, holds down construction costs."
Big-ticket items are the $14.3 million Lied Center for the Performing Arts in Lawrence and the $14.8 million biomedical research building at KUMC.
Motorists driving near 15th and Iowa can see the Lied Center designed for symphony, theater, opera, dance and lectures going up. Construction began in January. The target for dedication of the center is fall 1993.
WIECHERT SAID the loss of Hoch Auditorium, gutted in a June fire, won't alter the Lied Center schedule. Hoch had been used for many performances and lectures.
"Any attempt to finish it quicker would cost more money," he said.
Most of the funding for the Lied Center, $10 million, came from the Lied Foundation, Omaha, Neb. It's the biggest single donation in KU's history.
The KUMC research building is a project "essential to the medical center's research program," said Dr. D. Kay Clawson, executive vice chancellor of KUMC.
Construction bids will be opened in January 1992. It should take about two years to finish the project, Wiechert said.
The Kansas Union in Lawrence is undergoing a transformation that will help it withstand the wear and tear it takes from as many as 10,000 visitors a day.
The opening this summer of remodeled space in the union bookstore marked the end of the first phase of a two-part $11 million renovation.
James Long, director of the Kansas and Burge unions, said Phase II is scheduled to start in February. It will primarily address the fourth floor, which includes the main lobby.
"THE UNION will remain open during the renovation," he said. "But . . . there will be some interruption."
The first phase, costing $6.5 million, started in 1987. The second phase may take until August 1993 to complete.
As students return to Lawrence for fall classes, the $3.5 million privately funded expansion of the KU athletic complex should be taking shape.
The building will connect Allen Fieldhouse, Parrott Athletic Center and Anschutz Pavilion.
When completed in about a year, the facility will provide space for academic support, lockers, meeting rooms, sports medicine and offices.
Another construction project for the Lawrence campus will be the $1.5 million Amini Scholarship Hall in the 1300 block of Louisiana Street.
Koli and Margaret Amini, San Antonio, Tex., donated $1 million for the hall, which will house 50 students.
Wiechert said the 10-year plan for the area includes a second scholarship hall and a 100-vehicle parking structure.
Renovation of Pearson Scholarship Hall, costing $500,000, was completed this summer.
THE UNIVERSITY will begin a $1.9 million renovation of the Lewis Hall cafeteria in January 1992. It will be finished in a year, Wiechert said.
"The idea is to consolidate eating facilities on the Daisy Hill (residence hall) area," he said.
The goal is to consolidate all residence hall dining into Lewis. The central operation will have longer hours and more eating options for students, KU officials said.
Meanwhile, A-frame roofs are being added to three Stauffer Place apartment buildings, which have flat roofs. The apartments are for married students.
Wiechert said the work at Stauffer should be completed this fall at a cost of $180,000.
"It's not a big project, but it will be a visual one. People can see the work as they go by campus," he said.
Another project funded by the state is the installation of new campus water lines. The $1 million project is part of an upgrading of utility systems.
"It will be under way when fall classes start and should be finished sometime around October," Wiechert said. "Students will have to deal with it."
CONSTRUCTION ALSO continues at the $6 million Regents Center in Overland Park. The existing center has been operated by KU since 1975 for the Kansas Board of Regents.
The satellite campus should be finished late next year and classes are scheduled to begin in 1993.
Another off-campus project is the expansion of the Law Enforcement Training Center in Hutchinson. The center is managed by KU for the state.
The $4 million renovation and construction project started last year is financed by court docket fees.
A training gym, locker rooms and offices have been built at the Hutchinson facility. A dormitory will be built later.
At KUMC, construction should begin in September on the $3 million Sutherland Institute of Facial Rehabilitation. The project is expected to be finished in early 1993.