Construction on KPU Design school has been delayed for the last year

Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design on hold amidst budget constraints

Tristan Jonhston / The Runner

For the last several months, a third of the Richmond campus parking lot has been a fenced-off dirt lot.

In October of last year, The Runner interviewed Gordon Lee, then-vice-president of finance and administration, who said that construction hadn’t started due to being unable to find a construction company who’d stay within budget. Lee has since left the university.

From that time onwards, The Runner has been attempting to secure an interview to gain insight into the status of the project. For months we were told that “nothing had changed” since the last interview.

Harry Gray, AVP of Administration, was finally able to explain the slow progress of the project.

“In this case, what we’ve done is engage a group of people to design the building, that was one set of activities. Then what we did was go out to [request for proposal] and that came in last July for the construction of the building.”

“When that RFP for the construction came in, all of the bids were over budget. So what we did was we explored options with the lowest bidder, but unfortunately weren’t able to work it down to a point where we could go ahead. So what we’ve done since then is look at now revising the design of the building, and that work has begun. And then what we’re doing, and this is what led to the most recent thing you’ve seen, is decid[ing] that we should get a senior strategic advisor for the oversight of the whole project.”

A senior strategic advisor would be assisting, leading the project in terms of looking at the re-design, and leading it through the bid for construction, and then possibly into the construction itself.

“It was sufficiently over budget that we couldn’t proceed with it.”

Gray couldn’t answer questions regarding the eco-friendliness of the original design being altered.

Will the building still be within budget? “Absolutely,” says Gray.


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