Heading into the extended Thanksgiving weekend, a pair of Vision in Action projects on the Abilene Christian University campus are making visible progress.
Crews from Beynon Sports Surfaces earlier this month finished laying down a vibrant purple track that certainly pops against the deep green of the newly installed soccer field. With that, the most important part of ACU’s new track/soccer stadium – the playing and running surfaces – are in place. The track arrived in liquid form, in 39 enormous 330-gallon containers, each weighing more than 2,700 pounds, before being spread in multiple layers over the previously lain asphalt. The top layer was mixed with purple rubber granules and left to cure.
Meanwhile, crews have poured the foundation for the new fieldhouse, scheduled for completion by April 1, and supports are in place for the stands and pressbox, scheduled for completion in January. (You can always check out the progress via the live webcam atop Edwards Hall.)
Work also has begun across campus on a pair of related projects – north of Ambler Avenue, crews have cleared space for field events such as discus that would damage the soccer pitch if they were placed inside or alongside the track. East of Judge Ely Boulevard, crews have begun digging trenches for drainage pipes that will funnel and collect stormwater from the site of ACU’s two new stadiums. Construction on Wildcat Stadium, ACU’s first on-campus football facility in more than 70 years, will begin when fundraising for the project is complete.
On the south side of campus, the Engineering and Physics Laboratories at Bennett Gymnasium have made rapid progress since overcoming a series of delays caused by a regional steel shortage, as reported earlier this month by the Optimist. With steel now in place, crews have begun installing walls, installation and air conditioning ducts on the former gym’s new second floor. Outside the facility’s south wall, crews have begun covering a new steel facade with brick, and new windows are days away from being installed, said Kevin Roberts (’88), ACU’s vice president for planning and operations.
“It’s progressing just as we hoped it would,” he said. Crews hope to complete the project in January.
Staff and administrators in the Office of Student Life, meanwhile, appear to be just weeks away from moving into new offices in the bottom floor of the McGlothlin Campus Center, where students once bowled and ate in the Bean Sprout. Moving day is scheduled for Dec. 5, Roberts said; crews then will move the Department of Psychology – Chambers Hall’s last remaining occupants – into the old Student Life offices in McKinzie Hall and begin the process of demolishing the 85-year-old former residence hall, cafeteria and library to make way for the future Halbert-Walling Research Center.
As with Chambers, demolition of Walling Lecture Hall – the first step of transforming Foster Science Building into the Robert R. and Kay Onstead Science Center – won’t begin until after students leave for Christmas break in December, Roberts said, although demolition on both buildings will not move to the exteriors until January.
Vision in Action is the $75 million initiative launched in February 2014 by three historic gifts, including the largest in ACU history; it will result in three new science facilities and two athletics stadiums on the ACU campus. Fundraising continues for the final two projects: Wildcat Stadium and the Halbert-Walling Research Center. For more information, visit acu.edu/via.