A sidewalk closed sign on a slab of wood blocks a sidewalk entrance near a map of campus.
Jayme Sileo / Nevada Sagebrush
Construction on southern end of campus as it stands on Monday, Sept. 2. Construction continues to take place at the engineering building, chemistry building and Gateway District.

As students return to the University of Nevada, Reno, they will notice changes at Manzanita residence hall, on the east side of campus at the chemistry and Leifson Physics Building. 

Manzanita Hall

Manzanita Hall officially reopened for the 2019-2020 academic year following its structural renovation. 

Manzanita received an upgraded laundry facility, student lounges and study areas. There has also been the removal of ADA barriers, according to Director of Planning and Business Services for Facilities Services Melissa Rutter. 

Rutter was unable to provide the Nevada Sagebrush with what specific ADA barriers were removed. 

“Typically, what we look at is the ability to enter and exit buildings,” Rutter said.  

The residence hall houses 103 students and six resident assistants. 

William N. Pennington Engineering Building   

The William N. Pennington Engineering Building has been under construction at the university since fall 2018 and is expected to be completed by summer 2020. 

The building will feature more than 40 faculty offices, a cleanroom, 150 graduate workstations, 40 laboratories and a large-scale computer lab to accommodate for the growing college. 

Construction has been taking place next to Evans Ave., located on the east side of campus, and has caused minimal to no traffic concerns, according to Rutter. 

“There has been minimal impact to the traffic on Evans [Ave.],” Rutter said. “ We had a couple of times where [Facilities Services] closed the roadway, provide alternate routes and flaggers.” 

Rutter added foot-traffic on campus, due to construction, has put in place alternate routes for students and faculty to take. 

“We definitely impact students, but we try to send out announcements to the campus community,” Rutter said. “So people know what is going on. We try to provide wayfinding signs… we try to be available to answer questions.”

The new engineering building will cost $91.97 million. The State of Nevada has provided $41.5 million to provide students and faculty with better research opportunities. The university and private donors will cover the other $50.4 million.  

Future Construction

The chemistry and Leifson Physics Building renovations have been pushed back to October, according to Rutter. 

Renovations were originally supposed to take place in summer 2019, but due to finding where to place faculty and classes the process has been pushed back. 

“We actually are working on getting that going,” Rutter said. “It hasn’t physically started yet, but what we have been doing is working to relocate all of the current offices and operations that happen in that building to other locations. We are working with the contractors and getting the final contracts established.”

The buildings are expected to have ventilation systems upgraded, office spaces, research laboratories and classrooms modernized. Both buildings are expected to include new ADA compliant restrooms. 

Due to renovations, the chemistry building will expand 1,178 square feet and Leifson Physics will expand 839 square feet. 

With the expansion of the Gateway District on the south end of campus, a new business building will be under construction as early as summer 2021.   

The Gateway District refers to 12 historic homes on the south end of campus and their removal.  

The new business building will feature new classrooms, an auditorium, a student success center, offices and the Nevada Small Business Development Center. 

The building is expected to open in summer of 2023.   

As construction takes place the university is advising that students and faculty follow posted signs and be cautious of construction equipment and any activity that may be taking place during the day.

Andrew Mendez can be reached at andrewmendez@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.