NEWARK, Del. — Students at the University of Delaware will soon be envious the upcoming freshman class, as Skanska USA makes progress on the construction of two new resident buildings on the campus.
The $71 million student housing expansion project is in its first phase of the two new resident buildings — totaling 260,000 square feet and 767 beds. Students will be welcomed “home” when the project is complete in September 2013.
“This project will transform the atmosphere on east campus,” said David Singleton, University of Delaware vice president for facilities and auxiliary services, in a statement. “We are confident that Skanska USA will develop spaces that our students will be proud to call home.”
The project consists of extensive site development, which includes landscaping and site finishes, walkways, fire lanes, and utility infrastructure that will include connections to the central utility plant. The utility plant controls the university’s steam distribution, chilled water and electricity. In addition, office space for the university’s Office of Residential Life will be part of Phase I.
“This milestone is significant of Skanska as we inch closer to delivering comfortable student housing for one of the country’s fastest-growing and most esteemed, historic institutions,” said Ed Szwarc, general manager and executive vice president of Skanska’s Delaware and Pennsylvania offices.
The project will be completed in three phases — and with the recent commencement of the topping out ceremony, Skanska USA is on schedule with the project, even though the methods used in the topping out ceremony were untraditional.
The last steel beam was not raised in the ceremony — a hybrid panelized wall system, which is often used for hotel construction, has been installed in place of the traditional steel beams used in most buildings in order to save time and money. For example, hybrid wall paneling for one floor of the building, which is approximately 30,000 square feet, is built in two weeks.
“Skanska has a long track record for success in higher education construction, and we look forward to completing this expansion project with our local partners and the University of Delaware to provide its students with an innovative, collaborative learning environment,” said Szwarc.
Also working to Skanska on the project was Wilmington, Del.-based architecture firm ABHA Architects. The project has a strong Delaware presence, as 66 percent of all the work has been awarded to local Delaware subcontractors in an effort to contribute to the state’s economic recovery and boost job creation.