Robins & Morton

Since President Obama signed the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Auburn University has been awarded more than $82 million from the federal government. The Auburn, Ala.-based school has used $43 million of the funds, much of it spent on campus construction projects. The projects have improved and consolidated school functions and amenities all while creating jobs – a key purpose of the ARRA. 

The federal investment has had a positive trickle-down effect on Robins & Morton. The general contracting company with six southern offices has delivered several projects for the university in the past such as its science laboratory center completed in 2005 followed by the 150,000-square-foot district energy plant completed in 2006.

The company says its “primary focus over the last four decades has been healthcare construction.” In the past 10 years, it has completed more than $5 billion in healthcare projects throughout the country. 

However, with its ongoing work at schools such as Auburn University, it seems the education sector is not far behind. In 2010, the company began three projects and completed another at the school. This year, it was contracted to construct the new 240,000-square-foot Auburn University Recreation Wellness and Sustainability Center.

Currently in the design phase, the future center will be a recreational haven for Auburn students, faculty and staff “to use in their pursuit of a healthier lifestyle,” the school says. After a thorough evaluation process, the school selected 360 Architecture and Infinity Architecture to design the project. Both have previously designed for Auburn University. 

Proposed amenities for the center include:

  • An indoor track;
  • Cardio and weight training areas;
  • Outdoor leisure pool;
  • Rock climbing wall;
  • Multi-purpose courts;
  • Locker rooms;
  • Golf simulator room;
  • Multi-purpose and meeting rooms; and
  • Sand volleyball.
United Campus

As the design team hammers out details, it is tasked with blending the new structure with the existing campus.

“[A] key consideration will be the ability to provide a facility that corresponds with the overall image and character of the Auburn campus,” the university says.

Renderings of the Auburn project show large open spaces with clerestory windows and a lush entry plaza lined with canopy trees and gardens. The center’s design provides abundant views and open transitions from one space to another.

Its proximity to the new student village housing, intramural fields, the Martin Aquatics Center and tennis courts seamlessly integrate it into the existing school. However, the nearby buildings will also force close coordination as to not interrupt in-operation facilities.

“Among the many challenges facing the development of the new building will be working with and around the existing site typography and surrounding structures,” the school says.

Construction Alum

This won’t be the first time Robins & Morton has built on a limited site. In December 2010, it broke ground at Auburn’s $12.5 million multipurpose indoor practice facility. The 92,000-square-foot project was designed by Infinity Architecture and complements renovations at the nearby Auburn athletic complex and Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The project, slated for August completion, runs east and west along the schools Samford Avenue and connects to the Charlotte G. Lowder Student-Athlete Development Center and the James T. Tatum Jr. Strength and Conditioning Center. The project includes a 100-yard field that will allow the football, baseball, softball, soccer and track teams to practice indoors during inclement weather. According to Robins & Morton this will consolidate many campus functions.

A project also seen at the Auburn University is the new office of information technology (OIT). The approximately $13 million OIT will house office and support spaces for more than 140 staff and student employees. The 63,000-square-foot site consolidates OIT operations currently in nine separate buildings. The new Auburn Arena – completed in June 2010 – also increases the school’s efficiency, it says.

The $60 million, 265,000-square-foot arena was designed by 360 Architecture to accommodate more than just the Auburn Tigers men’s and women’s basketball games. The finished project includes 29,000 square feet of student-athlete spaces complete with lockers, medicine rooms, lounges and meeting rooms. The site also houses a two-court practice facility, coaches’ offices, the ticket office, Auburn team store, the relocated Lovelace Museum and two food courts. The arena itself is fitted with 9,600 seats – some are chair back seats and some are bleachers.

Robins & Morton is the general contractor for all these projects, which only make a partial list of all the work it has done for the school. In fact with at least nine projects either completed or in progress at the school, it seems Robins & Morton has enrolled at Auburn University for good.

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