University continues Franklin project

Rachel Abbey

The university has decided to move forward with its Franklin Hall project, the future home of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“We will be shifting future capital funds to go into this project,” said Beth Ruffing, assistant director of capital design and construction.

The construction bids had come in higher than estimated for the project, which forced administrators to look beyond their planned funds. Additional money will come from future funding, she said, and will not affect already planned projects, such as Oscar Ritchie Hall’s renovations.

Administration has not yet chosen which contracts to accept but will within the next week, she said.

“We will not take all the alternates, but we will have a complete building,” Ruffing said.

The decisions of which alternates, or non-necessities that could be included in the construction of the project, to take depends mostly on state regulations, she said. The total project must cost no more than 10 percent more than the overall estimated price.

“For example, if the estimate was $10 million, we could not award projects that cost more than $11 million,” Ruffing said.

Members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication have already helped the architects prioritize which alternates are necessary to the project, said director Jeff Fruit. Some of the alternates, such as the computer labs, have been expected all along to be included in the project.

Some of the non-chosen site work could be funded through other contracts, such as the university’s walkway improvement project, Ruffing said.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].