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Construction transforms Science Drive

Two major construction projects on Science Drive started over the summer are progressing on schedule, but a third has been delayed for at least six months because of funding problems.

Excavation is complete for both the parking deck behind the Bryan Center and the Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering Medicine and Applied Sciences across from the Pratt School of Engineering. Work on the addition to the Divinity School has been pushed off until the winter, however, because a gift intended to help fund the new facility has fallen through, Executive Vice President Tallman Trask said.

"We still need some funding issues straightened out," Trask said. "We had a foundation gift that didn't work out, and we're not going to be building buildings that we're not able to pay for." Trask declined to elaborate on the nature of the funds.

The addition includes the Goodson Chapel, a lecture hall, offices and classrooms.

Divinity School Dean Gregory Jones said the school is still putting together the funding package for approval at the October Board of Trustees meeting.

"[The package] was not in place in time for the May meeting, and so we will anticipate seeking Board of Trustees approval in October," Jones explained in an e-mail. "We were disappointed not to receive a grant we had applied for from a foundation, but we still should be able to have a strong funding package in place."

The addition to the Divinity School is budgeted at $21 million, of which about $13 or $14 million has been raised--enough to proceed, said Wes Brown, the school's associate dean for external affairs. The $21 million is part of the school's overall $85 million capital campaign, which is currently 89 percent achieved. Brown said he still anticipates that the project will be completed by fall 2004.

"There is money still to be raised before construction is completed, but we have known this all along and the disappointment from the foundation should not affect us in this process," Jones added.

Beacon-Beers, which also constructed the West-Edens Link, was contracted for both the CIEMAS and Divinity projects because the University did not want two companies working in the same area.

"We have been concentrating on completing the [WEL] and vamping up and getting CIEMAS going," said Suzanne Jackson, director of marketing for Beacon Skanska, the firm which has partnered with Beers Construction Company on the Duke projects. Jackson would not comment further on any financial reasons for the delay in the Divinity project.

The 324,000-square-foot, $98 million CIEMAS, intended for completion by the summer of 2004, consists of two building wings joined by a central court and will more than double Pratt's teaching and laboratory space. The complex's west wing will house the new Fitzpatrick Center for Photonics and Communications Systems, and the larger east wing will house new interdisciplinary initiatives in biomedical engineering and materials sciences. The School of Medicine will occupy approximately 45,000 square feet of the facility.

The 540-space parking deck, which has been contracted to T.A. Loving and has a target completion date of next summer, will make up for the closing of the Divinity School parking lot, where the new engineering buildings and the Divinity and Perkins Library extensions will be constructed. The Divinity lot accommodated about 180 people.

Trask said all of the construction has had a minimal impact on traffic on Science Drive and the formerly adjacent Research and Circuit drives. Science Drive now ends in a cul-de-sac near the entrance to the Physics parking lot and the staircase down to the Levine Science Research Center, eliminating through traffic.