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Construction underway at Brenau
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Brenau University students pass a construction site Wednesday along Prior Street in Gainesville where the school’s new sorority row is under construction.

The foundation is poured and early framework is up for new sorority houses on Brenau University’s Gainesville campus.

Construction is well underway on the nearly $10 million project, which includes construction of four new sorority houses, a residence hall, a human anatomy lab and a field house near the athletic complex.

Four sorority houses on Prior Street were razed in June and are currently being reconstructed, according to David Morrison, vice president of communications and publications at Brenau.

“They’ve just finished the concrete pad and they have to wait and let that cure,” Morrison said. “The underground plumbing that comes up through the concrete had to be put in, too, so the framing has actually just now started.”

Morrison said the concrete foundations have been poured for all four houses, and crews are working one house at a time to put in the framework. They will then go back, one house at a time, to put on the roofs.

“It’ll be sort of like an assembly line, except the crews are moving one at a time instead of what they’re building,” he said.

The houses will therefore be finished one at a time. Brenau officials expect the first to be finished in late March and the rest to be completed by early summer, at the latest.

Morrison said construction has also begun on the human anatomy lab, which is going on the second floor of the Brenau University Downtown Center.

“The anatomy lab is about 20 percent complete,” Morrison said. “The contractors are beginning to work on plumbing and infrastructure items that are not so easy to see. ... Studs and walls, etc., will begin in about two weeks.”

The lab will be the first completed portion of the project, because it is mostly internal construction.

“What we had at the Downtown Center was an old arena, convention center type thing,” Morrison said. “The arena part was about a 2,500-seat arena, which wasn’t really enough to attract crowds.”

Morrison said Brenau subdivided the arena horizontally, putting a floor through the middle and making it two stories. The first floor now houses physical therapy classrooms and laboratories.

“The upstairs has been just empty,” Morrison said. “It’s not finished at all, but it was there for future expansion. So the first thing they’re going to build in one corner of it is the anatomy lab.”

The lab will have 10 stations and will be “state of the art,” according to Morrison. It is on schedule to be completed by the end of 2014.

The field house, which will be constructed adjacent to the athletic complex on Jesse Jewell Parkway, has hit a minor delay, Morrison said.

“We’re involved in trying to get permits on that so we can get it designed,” he said. “It’s taking a little longer than we had anticipated because it is a flood plain. There is a creek running through the property, so it’s not just a normal site plan and we have to accommodate the flood plain. It requires a little bit more detailed study.”

Finally, construction of the three-story, 72-bed residence hall will begin next spring, once construction of the four sorority houses across the street is complete.

“I think they are going to start doing site prep on that around December,” Morrison said. “We’re still on schedule to move in it by the end of 2015.”

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