SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and state legislators will join University of Rhode Island President David M. Dooley and other school officials on Monday, May 5, for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the URI Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences.
The event will mark the early phase of construction on the 135,000-square-foot building at URI’s South Kingstown campus. The $68 million project, funded in part through a $61 million bond issue approved by Rhode Island voters in 2010, will triple the amount of space for teaching labs and double the space for research labs compared with current facilities in URI’s Pastore Hall, which was build in 1953 to accommodate 800 students. Today, more than 6,000 students enroll in chemistry classes each year, URI said.
“We’re not just asking to build a physical infrastructure with leading edge teaching and research space, we are asking to build the sustainable supply of human talent and ingenuity that is necessary to drive innovation, to drive the frontiers forward in research and discovery,” said Dooley in a statement supporting the 2010 referendum on the 20-year bond issue. “Chemistry is the building block, the bedrock foundation.”
The building was designed by William Wilson Architects of Boston and will be built in a portion of the parking lot situated between the Chafee Social Science Center and White Hall. Excavation and preparation of the site began in December 2013.
Completion of construction on the center was originally projected for September 2014, but URI spokesman Dave Lavallee said the university rebid the contract after initial bids came in higher than expected, to ensure the project would be completed at the lowest possible cost as part of URI’s accountability to the taxpayers who approved the bond.
Bacon Construction Co. Inc. of East Providence won the final bid on the contract, and the current projected completion date is spring 2016, Lavallee said.