The University of Nevada, Reno, started the design process for two academic buildings and a parking garage set to occupy the area of the current Gateway District.
The Gateway District refers to 12 homes located near Interstate 80, Evans Avenue, Virginia Street and Ninth Street and the relocation or potential demolition of the homes. Currently, one home has been relocated and three are under contract to move before construction takes place. There has been no negotiation by the university about the other eight homes.
The three homes under contract are expected to be relocated by the end of this year.
Mark Johnson, President of the university, met with the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents on June 7 for approval of a Master Plan Update. The updated detailed the university has plans to construct a new College of Business Building, two Life Sciences buildings and a parking garage.
Construction is expected to take place in the summer of 2021, starting with the new business building and parking garage. Buildings are expected to be no taller than six stories, according to the updated Master Plan.
The new business complex is estimated to cost $99.7 million and will feature a center for entrepreneurship, the Nevada Small Business Development Center, classrooms and labs for students to use.
Heidi Gansert, Executive Director of External Communications for the university, said designs for the business building are meant to meet the needs of the college.
“Right now we are at a stage where the university is developing designs for the business building,” Gansert said. “Part of that process is working with the dean of business and faculty members to see what their needs are. What kind of spaces do we need? What kind of offices? What kind of classrooms? Do they need auditoriums? So they have to develop what the needs are for the building, and then they’ll translate that into a drawing for the building.”
Gansert said the building will be solely funded through private donations and fees. No money will be provided from the state.
According to a report by the Reno Gazette Journal, the new parking garage is expected to cost anywhere from $20-$22 million and will be completed by 2021.
The parking garage will be funded based on revenue around parking fees, and house 700-1,000 cars, according to Gansert.
Gansert said the cost for student parking passes would depend on how many levels the garage will be.
There was a need for two life sciences buildings due to labs, classrooms and equipment, according to Gansert.
Despite a growth to campus, Reno locals have expressed concerns regarding construction.
Jennifer Curdie, 38, has lived in Reno since she was 10-years-old said the university should find another location for construction.
“I get that the school needs to expand, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of the history of our town,” Curdie told the Nevada Sagebrush. “Reno has had enough historical buildings taken out. There are only a handful of the 100+ year-old homes left in their original locations. One has since been moved and the risk of damage to it is not worth a parking garage. I’d rather pay my $485 a school year and walk from west Stadium to the south end of campus. I feel the pain of parking on campus as much as the next person, but I have also watched this town change a lot since 1990. With each demolition a little bit of history is lost only to be found in a book or online.”
In a prior report by The Nevada Sagebrush on June 7, at NSHE Board of Regents meeting a Washoe County resident expressed her concerns about the construction. She said by moving the historic homes the university was creating a disconnect from the public.
Andrew Mendez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.