Construction of Drury University’s new O’Reilly Enterprise Center is about 85 percent complete, but it won’t be done as planned in time for fall classes.
Supply chain issues will delay opening until January, although faculty and staff may be able to move in as early as October.
“We have really been plagued in late spring and going into summer with supply chain issues,” said Brandon Gammill, vice president of facilities operations. “The issues that have hit us have forced us to alter our schedule.”
Gammill said exterior work is close to 90 percent done but interior work has been stymied by a delay receiving HVAC equipment for the rooftop that must be in place and working in order for other portions to move forward.
“We have to condition the building and acclimate the facility for us to go in and start to install some of … the wall coverings and finishes in the building,” Gammill said. “When that equipment got pushed out, unfortunately that pushed out everything else in the schedule, (including) flooring.”
The large three-story building at Central Street and Drury Lane will be the new home of the expanded Breech School of Business Administration.
The $27 million project will be named for C.H. “Chub” O’Reilly, whose family donated to the project. The amount has not been disclosed.
A major feature of the new building will be the Robert and Mary Cox Compass Center. It brings together academic advising, career planning and development and academic life coaching in a one-stop shop for students.
Gammill said the audiovisual equipment the university picked out for the project is also delayed.
“We have really prided ourselves on the technology of this facility and our AV system, a very critical component of that, was pushed out,” Gammill said. “We looked at alternate equipment and alternate material and the stuff that was available to us, to help us stay on time, just wasn’t the quality we had originally.”
He said the decision was made to wait for the higher quality equipment.
Move to new building frees up space on campus
The original plan was to have the building open in time for classes in late August.
Gammill said the revised goal is to complete construction by Oct. 3 but not hold any classes in the building until January.
“That has received overwhelming support, primarily from our faculty members because now we are allowing them to move in October through December, get comfortable, get acclimated to the facility, learn the new technology and not be rushed,” he said.
The new building will be home to all of the staff and faculty from the Breech building.
The political science, math and computer science departments will also move in.
“We’ll have a lot of space on campus that we will be freeing up,” he said. “And we’re in conversations as to what those spaces become. We don’t have any answers for that right now.”
Inflation causing added expense for parts, supplies
In addition to the delays, some parts of the project have become more expensive due to inflation.
Gammill said the university built contingencies into the budget and has been able to stay on track.
“We are seeing delays, not just on the site, but in daily operations in parts and supplies to fix problems that arise on a daily basis,” he said.
He was notified that one part needed for a different project was going to be delayed 72 weeks — more than a year.
Gammill said to combat those delays, the university is ordering parts earlier and keeping more supplies on hand. It is also looking for alternatives whenever possible.
Construction on the parking lot east of the building is expected to start in July with the goal of being done by late August.
“The excitement level here at Drury is at an all-time high because folks are starting to see this building coming together,” he said. “I’m really exciting for our students that are getting to go into this building in January.”
Claudette Riley is the education reporter for the News-Leader. Email news tips to [email protected]