It's hard to go to Kansas University's campus without seeing a bulldozer or crane.
The $500 million fund-raising drive by the KU Endowment Association has helped spur construction projects across campus, and it's keeping KU officials busy.
"There's so darn much stuff going on right now that it's hard to keep track of," said Warren Corman, university architect.
The best part Â as far as taxpayers are concerned Â is that hardly any of the construction is being funded by the state. For instance, all of the $15 million needed to build a new engineering building south of Learned Hall was raised from private donors. Ditto for the $17.8 million Edwards Campus building in Overland Park that will be constructed beginning this fall.
"If you stop and look at what the state is funding today, there isn't much at all," said Jim Modig, director of design and construction management.
The only major state contribution to a new campus building is the $3 million of the $8 million used to construct the Dole Institute of Politics building on West Campus.
The recent economic downturn has helped KU's construction projects. The projects put out for bids this year have come in about 10 percent below estimates as contractors look for work in the recession.
In addition to the new buildings on campus, crews are working to renovate Ellsworth Hall, one of five residence halls on Daisy Hill. The renovations will convert some rooms to suites and upgrade electrical and telecommunications infrastructure.
Another set of improvements aims to improve the look of the entire Lawrence campus over the next 10 years. The landscape master plan will use $22 million in private funds to plant trees, reconfigure several campus roads and create new walkways through campus.
The first phase in the landscaping plan already is under way. The Malott Gateway, under construction near 15th and Iowa streets, will welcome visitors to campus. It was funded with a $1 million gift from Robert Malott, the son of former KU Chancellor Deane Malott.
As the Endowment Association's KU First campaign continues, Modig said he expects to add more construction projects to his to-do list. Others coming down the road are an undergraduate research lab, Hall Center for the Humanities building, and a possible addition to the Lied Center.
"A lot of it depends on who wants to donate for what," Modig said.
Corman, who spent 40 years in the Board of Regents office in Topeka before coming to KU, said it was an exciting time to watch KU's campus change.
"I'll be 76 this summer, and if it wasn't fun, I wouldn't be doing it," he said.
Here's a rundown of campus renovations:
Edwards Campus building
Price: $17.8 million
Square feet: 85,840
Bid date: September
Completion date: December 2003
Description: This will be the second building on KU's Overland Park campus. The building will include traditional classrooms, computer labs, a board room, offices and a 240-seat auditorium.
Price: $2.2 million
Square feet: 10,300
Bid date: May
Completion date: February 2003
Description: KANU-FM 91.5 will move into a new home near the Baehr Audio-Reader building north of Memorial Stadium. The building will include a larger live studio, music library and shop spaces. Also, administrative offices for Audio-Reader and KANU will be consolidated.
Anderson Family Strength
and Conditioning Center
Price: $8 million
Square feet: 34,900
Start date: May
Completion date: May 2003
Description: The facility will be at the northwest corner of Anschutz Sports Pavilion and will be on two levels. It will be devoted mainly to weight-lifting, but also will include cardiovascular equipment, sprint lanes, offices and locker rooms for athletes.
Ellsworth Hall renovation
Price: $12.5 million
Start date: May
Completion date: Phase I, July 2003; Phase II, December 2003
Description: Ellsworth Hall, one of five residence halls on Daisy Hill, will be converted to suite-style rooms from its traditional dorm rooms. The suites will have their own bathrooms and kitchenettes. The renovations also include new fire sprinklers, electrical wiring and telecommunication equipment.
Student Recreation Fitness Center
Price: $16.3 million
Square feet: 98,318
Bid date: Last February
Completion date: July 2003
Description: Funded through student fees, the new building will provide dedicated space and extended hours for recreation services already offered to KU students at Robinson Center, which is primarily a teaching facility. These services include basketball, racquetball, swimming and a rock climbing wall.
Kansas Union Renovation Phase 3
Price: $6.3 million
Start date: July 2001
Completion date: February 2003
Description: The latest in improvements to the union will allow for a new entrance on the west side, renovation of the Jaybowl, new offices, meeting rooms and lobby space and a covered walkway connecting the union to its parking garage.
Learned Hall expansion
Price: $15 million
Square feet: 83,768
Bid date: December 2001
Completion date: June 2003
Description: This addition south of Learned Hall will house classrooms, 15 new labs, 25 graduate teaching assistant offices and 38 faculty offices. It also will have a 250-seat auditorium.
Dole Institute of Politics
Price: $8.2 million
Square feet: 26,920
Bid date: February 2001
Completion date: April 2003
Description: This building on KU's West Campus, near the Lied Center, will hold the archives of former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, who attended KU, and serve as a meeting space for political events.