University of Central Arkansas President Tom Courtway on Friday presented the board of trustees with drawings of a proposed building that would provide upper classmen housing and retail space.
Part of the Donaghey Corridor project, the four-story, 67,500 square-foot proposed building has two wings and would be located at Donaghey Avenue and Bruce Street. Courtway said he has had good discussions with the owner of Papa John’s, which is now located at the intersection, and the businessman is interested in relocating the pizza place into the retail space of the university’s new building.
"I think this would be a great amenity for our upper classmen," Courtway said. "We have a clear need for additional bed space. The next question becomes where do you build it. We have an opportunity to do something significant, not only for the university, but for the city of Conway."
He said a group of local businessmen are interested in putting a pharmacy and grocery in the retail space, as well as a couple of restaurants. He said he has also reached out to Waffle House, and their corporate offices have been considering the proposal. Additionally, he said there is a group that wants to buy the entire ground floor and do the leasing if the university doesn’t want to be in the landlord business.
"I think it’s generating a fair amount of interest," Courtway said.
Trustees also saw the design of the proposed new Lewis Science Center and the façade for the old facility, which will be a colonnade in keeping with several other designs around campus. In the new building, the much-anticipated planetarium will be the first thing visitors see when they walk in the building.
A groundbreaking will be in May 2015, and construction will be complete in November 2016. Classes will begin in January 2017.
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