FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - Construction of a new nursing building at the University of North Alabama has been slowed by rainy weather and the COVID-19 pandemic, but school officials are still confident it’ll be ready to go for the fall 2020 semester.
“They’re making good progress now, but we’re not making up ground as fast as we lost it,” Mike Gautney said. He’s the Assistant Vice President for Facilities and says the original competion date was last Christmas. After the rainy fall and winter, that date was pushed back to March 21st. Then, COVID-19 hit. The company doing the work actually had employees test positive, shutting down their operation for a while. “That hit hard and they just weren’t able to work, so we just had to wait,” Gautney said.
According to our news partners at the Times Daily, almost three full months of rain days were added to the contract, with additional days likely needed.
Dating back to January 1st, 2019, Florence has seen 106.7 inches, which is nearly 30 inches more than normal for that time span, according to the National Weather Service.
Gautney said there remains some key elements to be completed inside, like finishing touches on the air conditioning that must be up and running before flooring can be installed. Outside there’s work to be done as well, such as a retaining wall and steps to the front of the main building. Some metal siding is also yet to be added to the front of the building. On the back side of the building much of the brick and concrete work is done but the tornado shelter “has a ways to go,” Gautney said.
The school predicts the final cost of the building at $24.1 million.