Students will return to class on Monday to some new sights as the University continues with construction on the James Cabell Library, The Square Apartments at 900 W. Grace St. and an office building at 912 W. Grace St.
The James Cabell Library is set to place the last beam on the roof of the building in a “topping off” ceremony, tentatively set for March 2015, although it won’t be in full use until 2016. As construction progresses throughout the year some sections and rooms will be closed off. Currently, the Special Collections and Archives room on the fourth floor is closed until Jan. 20. All the materials from that room have been moved to the 500 Academic Learning Centre.
Oversized books from the fourth floor have been moved down to the third floor. Once construction is complete all materials will be moved back to their respective locations. If construction continues on schedule the four floors of the library will be finished between March and May.
Sue Robinson, communications and public relations director for VCU libraries, said the library expected complaints about the noise and inconvenience of the construction, especially during the intense gauntlet of exam week.
“But instead, students are just shrugging it off and putting in their ear buds and concentrating on their work,” said Robinson.
Originally, the eleven-story Square Apartments were scheduled to open in July of 2014, but delays in construction have pushed that date back. In August, most of the buildings had been filled by students, but less than ten percent of the apartments remain vacant due to continued delays, according to an article from The Richmond-Times Dispatch.
The same article indicates that the fast food Chinese Restaurant, Panda Express, which is on the bottom floor of the Square Apartments, is scheduled to open its doors before the end of the month.
The office building at 912 W. Grace St. is being built on VCU land, but is being constructed by private developers. It is scheduled for completion at the end of the month. The building will include a Wal-Mart at street level, classrooms for Global Education and office space for VCU. The Wal-Mart will open at the end of February, according to Phil Roper III, one of the developers of both buildings on Grace Street.