Land to Soon be Cleared for New UNR Engineering Building

Eight homes being demolished soon to make way for a new engineering building at the University of Nevada, Reno aren’t those a local preservation group has been trying to preserve.

The homes constructed between the 1930s and 1960s are in the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Evans Avenue.

“It does not appear that they were made available for architectural salvage,” according to a FaceBook post Saturday by Preserve the Historic UNR Gateway. “Farewell to these University Heights charmers. Go see them this weekend if you can.”

UNR has been acquiring property south of campus as part of its master plan, which was created through planning efforts with the City of Reno and Regional Transportation Commission. Master plans are long-term visions that guide decisions about future growth.

Enrollment in the university’s engineering program has doubled in the last decade. Its new building is expected to be 87,000 square feet and cost almost $90 million. Almost half of funds are coming from the state, with the rest coming from UNR and private donors. Groundbreaking is set for this fall, with a targeted opening date of summer 2020.

“Competitive research programs in these areas require modern research infrastructure not easily possible in aging buildings,” according to a UNR news publication. “A new engineering building provides both additional space critically need by the college and the modern facilities capable of supporting high-tech research and laboratory space.”

What’s been in the spotlight are 12 other historic homes built in the late 1800s to early 1900s near campus along North Center, North Lake and East Eighth streets. Most have been turned over to San Francisco-based Common Ground Urban Development for relocation. The developer touts itself as one that builds “inclusive equitable urban real estate projects that leverage the unrealized potential of distressed properties.”

If homes stay in their current location, UNR alleges it would impede southbound growth and require a revision to the campus master plan. Also, maintaining the homes as short-term rentals had become costly. Some have opposed the relocation of the buildings, saying that distributing them throughout the region will cause part of history to be lost.

Carla O'Day
About Carla O'Day 418 Articles
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.