Medical school construction begins

Construction of the new Medical School building begins. Photo by Jennifer Friese/ The Dakota Student.

Construction of the new $124 million, 320,000 square foot, four story UND Medical School building began two weeks ago while many students were out of town over spring break.

“We have been working on this project for 43 weeks with a large team of architects and engineers,” Associate Dean for the School of Medicine and Health Services, Randy Eken said. “We are pretty excited construction has started.”

The first step in the construction process is pile driving, which involves putting steel piles — which look like large pipes — into the ground to support the floor and the base.

In November, test piles were installed to ensure the vibrations from the piling would not affect existing structures in the area.  Currently, there are 350 pile wings that need to be put in place that go 160 feet into the ground. Swingen Construction Company is scheduled to continue piling until mid-May.

Because the noise of the piling is loud and causes a continuous pounding sound, the construction manager at risk notified the residents and businesses about the noise before it began.

“We recognize that there are students studying, but there is a job to do and a deadline,” Eken said.

Eken said as of now, there have been no complaints about the noise.

The next step in the construction after the pile driving is completed will be to construct a pad for the floor using the piles. There is currently a bid package out for the job.

Physical therapy major Natalie Gleason takes classes in the current medicine and health services building and said that the changes will be beneficial if the physical therapy program would like to increase the size of its classes, since right now the amount of students in the classes are at capacity for the room size.

However, Gleason said she likes that all of her classes are in one spot, and in the new building the plan is to have classes spread out instead of being located in one department.

“I like having the department just for us,” Gleason said. “I like that everything is in one spot and that we hardly have to move around the building. Its a very homey atmosphere.”

Construction on the new building will continue until the summer of 2016.

“We are on time and on budget,” Eken said.

Ashley Marquis is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].