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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Passersby seeing Alumni Center taking shape on Upper College Road

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 9, 2004 -- With much of the wood framing completed and the peaks and plywood in place for the entrances, the University of Rhode Islandís first Alumni Center is beginning to give passersby a hint of what the final product will look like.

In mid-March, the concrete slab for the first floor was installed, and as the weather has improved the pace of work has increased. Steel stairs and railings are in place on one stair tower, and the other stair tower is about 80 percent complete.

This week, the framing, flooring, walls and roof for the northwest section of the building have been completed, and now workers are moving to the south wing, said Raffaele Rotondo, the construction superintendent for the general contractor, DePasquale Building and Realty, Warwick.

A bay window for a second-floor office has been framed. The wood framing and plywood installation has covered the dark gray structural steel skeleton that was visible through much of the winter.

The 21,000-square-foot facility will be a home away from home for URIís 87,000 alumni, and will provide meeting and reception space. The facility on Upper College Road, located between the URI Foundation and the International Engineering House, will also provide office space for the 60 employees of the URI Division for University Advancement. Construction began in July, and completion is slated for the fall.

"Now we are starting to see the architectural elements that are going to make this building such a great meeting place for our alumni, and a striking landmark on the Kingston Campus," said Michele Nota, executive director of the Alumni Association. "The design and excellent workmanship complement the historic and traditional nature of the structures on Upper College Road."

As the building progresses, crews will begin site work to prepare for final landscaping. Rotondo said crews will be installing new sidewalks and re-doing the parking lot from behind the Alumni Center to the Chi Phi fraternity house.

"Weíll be doing all new landscaping and drainage work in the area," Rotondo said.

The center is being built on the site of the former Sigma Chi fraternity house. The design provides for generous outdoor and indoor welcoming areas and features a shingled exterior with French doors, bays, gables, and front and rear porches.

On the first floor, a stone fireplace is a centerpiece of the 900-square-foot lounge and reception area that opens to both an executive boardroom and an alumni conference room with a grand bay window. The Alumni Office and the Department of Communications/News Bureau will be located on the first floor as well.

The second floor will house the Office of the Vice President for Advancement and the Development Office. The Publications Office and Advancement Services will be located on the third floor.

Alumni leaders and University officials have long studied the feasibility of a multi-purpose Alumni Center. First proposed in 1980, the center was put on hold because of more pressing capital needs elsewhere on campus.

The state and the URI Alumni Association are sharing funding for the $4 million facility. The stateís share is being paid for through Rhode Island Health and Educational Building Corp. revenue bonds. The Alumni Association is contributing $480,000 and has established an endowment to ensure the permanent availability of funds for the maintenance and enhancement of the building.

The architects are Lamborghini/Feibelman Ltd. and Gregory J. Snider of Providence.