Classes resume as east end project ramps up

east end construction
As the excavation phase wraps up on the east end transformation, there are several ways to stay up-to-date on the project's progress. (Photo: Joe Angeles/Washington University)

Students and faculty at Washington University in St. Louis return to a campus that’s drastically different from the one they left in May. The east end transformation, one of the largest capital projects in university history, is well underway. A massive three-month excavation is nearly complete. When finished, approximately 330,000 cubic yards of earth will have been moved from the site. Crews installed three tower cranes and are now hard at work drilling and pouring new piers.

When finished, Washington University will have three new academic buildings, two new multiuse facilities, an expansion of Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, a state-of-the-art underground parking facility, and welcoming green space, Ann and Andrew Tisch Park.

The project will transform campus and help solidify the university’s next era of academic excellence, but there’s no question the construction, road closures and associated challenges will require extra planning and patience on everyone’s part.

“This project is huge, impactful and meaningful for Washington University,” said Jane Kojima, communications manager for the east end transformation. “The university is committed to keeping the campus community informed of the project’s progress and its impact on everyday life at WashU.”

Dump trucks will soon be replaced by concrete trucks at the east end site, as crews begin pouring building foundations. (Photo: Joe Angeles/Washington University)

Though wayfinding signs and banners have been installed along heavily traveled routes on the Danforth Campus, the community should expect changes in the fence perimeter as work progresses and additional temporary detours as the new buildings are connected to existing structures.

Here are some other ways to stay on top of the project and to know when you might have to modify plans accordingly:

  • The Campus Next website contains a host of information about the east end transformation, including a history of the project, renderings of the new buildings and spaces and a digital campus map showing up-to-date information and even live web-cam shots from above the construction zone.
  • Check out the East End Update. Since May, this monthly e-newsletter has gone out to all faculty, staff and students to ensure they’re up-to-date on the latest information about the project. The newsletter addresses the project’s progress and introduces you to the people making it all possible. Alumni, parents and friends can sign up to receive the e-newsletter on the Campus Next website.
  • Twitter is a good way to get real-time updates on the project. You can follow @WashUcampusnext, and share your pictures and stories on Twitter and other social media using #campusnext.

Crews are winding down the excavation phase, but they typically still will work six days a week, from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. In the months ahead, expect to see more concrete trucks as building foundations are poured. And later this semester, work will begin on excavation of the tunnel to connect Jubel Hall to Brauer Hall at the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

Kojima said the key to keeping everyone informed during the project is shared communication.

“It’s important to note that we want to share and receive information about the project from the WashU community,” Kojima said. “Questions, suggestions or concerns can be sent to campusnext@wustl.edu. We’re all creatures of habit, and change in routine can really be tough. I’m confident that in the end, when this transformation is complete and ready for our community to use and enjoy, it will all be worth it.”

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