Webster University Construction Projects will Benefit Community

Artistic rendering of the new substation New electrical customer substation, chiller and cooling tower plant, and interdisciplinary science building advancing.

ST. LOUIS (APRIL 21, 2014) - Three new campus construction projects will be the center of discussion at three town hall meetings on the Webster University Webster Groves campus this month. Two meetings will inform the community of construction that could impact traffic during the summer, while the third will feature two architects presenting design ideas for the future interdisciplinary building. All meetings are open to the public.

“These projects represent significant advancement of Webster’s Comprehensive Master Plan released in 2012,” said Greg Gunderson, Webster’s Chief Financial Officer. “Collaborations with the City and Planning Commissions have enabled us to bring forth projects that will benefit the entire community.”

The 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. meetings on April 30th in the Community Music School Auditorium will focus on work that will have the most impact on the community of Webster Groves – the construction of a new electrical customer substation and the installation of the East Academic Building chiller and cooling tower plant.   

The electrical customer substation will be located on the south side of Garden Avenue and east of the existing parking garage. Approximately one mile of new underground electrical ductbank with manholes and more than three miles of conduit extending from the electrical customer substation will be installed.    

While the construction is expected to cause some short-term inconveniences for area drivers and pedestrians, it will have long-term benefits to the community by reducing the University’s electrical usage and freeing up electrical loads on the electrical grid for use by the surrounding Webster Groves Community.  Currently, the area’s electrical system is at capacity, restricting growth in the area.

“We want to inform the general community about the impacts that these projects will have on the community, so that all can plan accordingly and aren’t caught off guard by any inconveniences,” said Craig A. Miller, Sr., director of Facilities Planning and Management at Webster University. “During the town hall session, we will present a four-dimensional virtual model to better explain the construction and how it will progress.”

The first phase of the project is expected to start the third week of May and finish by the end of August, weather permitting. During that time, a trench will be excavated along Garden Avenue and manholes installed throughout the campus. At the same time, the ductbank will be installed in other areas of the campus.  Two 600 ton chillers will be installed in the lower level of the East Academic Building (EAB), requiring a crane that may block the east drive of EAB.  The EAB chiller and cooling tower project is scheduled to start in mid-May of 2014 and be completed by mid-August of 2014. While Garden Avenue will remain open, minor traffic delays are anticipated.

Phase II of the project will include the construction of the new substation and installation of the new electrical equipment.  This phase is not anticipated to cause any significant pedestrian or vehicular traffic disruptions.  The Phase II substation work is tentatively scheduled to begin in January of 2015 and finish in July of 2016.  Before it commences, another town hall session will be held.  

The third public hearing will be held April 24th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Winifred Moore Auditorium, two architects will each present their ideas for the new interdisciplinary building for the University and then answer questions from the audience.

“The primary purpose for the public meetings is to give the University community an opportunity to meet and share their thoughts with the architects,” Miller said. “We are trying to foster a collaborative approach to the design and to keep our community informed about the process.”

About Webster University

With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University (www.webster.edu) is the only Tier 1, private, non-profit U.S.-based university providing a network of international residential campuses and a robust online learning program. Founded in 1915, Webster University’s campus network today includes metropolitan, military and corporate locations around the world, as well as traditional campuses in Asia, Europe, North America, and Africa. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.

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