The next big steps in the University of Nevada, Reno’s plans for a major expansion of its campus to the south — the so-called “Gateway Precinct” — will be decided by the Nevada Board of Regents at its meeting June 6-7, 2019. The regents will be asked to approve seven separate items that UNR needs to have in place as it prepares to get serious about starting design of the campus expansion this summer.
If the regents give the green light, UNR will move forward with design of a new six-story building for its College of Business at the southwest corner of Ninth and Center streets.
The building is estimated to cost between $100 million and $110 million, UNR officials say. Private donors — including a potential major donor who hasn’t been identified — would provide some of the funding, and UNR would pay the rest.
Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2021, with completion in mid-2023.
“Bridging tradition and innovation instead of wiping the slate clean could create an absolutely unique pedestrian-scale campus entrance rich in character and an authentic sense of place.”
Plans call for the building to include two 200-person lecture halls, 124 offices, 91 workstations, six classrooms, three computer-equipped class labs, a trading-room lab, two large meeting rooms and some retail and restaurant space.
However, the construction requires demolition of several old homes that haven’t found buyers willing to move them. Those plans haven’t been without controversy in recent months, and the university’s plans on Thursday were called “incredibly disheartening” by Alicia Barber, a professional historian, author of“Reno’s Big Gamble,” and an advocate for the historic houses of the Gateway.
She said that UNR could have worked with the Regional Transportation Commission — which is planning a new transit stop along Virginia Street — to slightly reorient the project.
The repositioning of the new buildings would have allowed UNR to keep all the historic houses along Center Street in place to find new lives as coffee houses, guest houses, retail spaces or campus offices, Barber said.
“Bridging tradition and innovation instead of wiping the slate clean could create an absolutely unique pedestrian-scale campus entrance rich in character and an authentic sense of place,” she said.
Along with the new building for the College of Business, UNR officials are asking the regents to give their OK to planning for a six-story parking garage at the southwest corner of Ninth and Lake streets. The garage, with a price tag of $20 million to $22 million, is scheduled for completion in late summer 2021.
Also envisioned for later development in the Gateway District are a four-story Life Sciences building on the southeast corner of Ninth and Center and a two buildings — one four-story, one six-story — at the corner of the Interstate 80 off-ramp and Center Street.
John Seelmeyer is a business writer and editor in Reno. In his 40-year career, he has edited publications in Nevada, Colorado and California and written several thousand published articles about business and finance.