12/25/09: “Nearly Time to Bridge the Gap,” The Free Lance-Star

Nearly Time to Bridge the Gap
Parts of the bridge that will connect Eagle Village with UMW’s main campus will be assembled in the fenced area behind Twi-Lite Motel

Want a preview of the bridge that will soon connect Eagle Village with the University of Mary Washington’s main campus?

Check the fenced area behind the Twi-Lite Motel in the former Park & Shop retail center. Pieces are being trucked in there and will be assembled into two parts that will be craned into place over U.S. 1 beginning Friday, Jan. 15.

“[A portion of] U.S. 1 will be shut down through Sunday afternoon,” said Jeff Rountree, the UMW Foundation’s CEO and president of Eagle Property. “That Monday is a holiday which gives them an extra day to use if they need more time.”

Envisioned as a gateway to Fredericksburg, the enclosed, red-brick structure will have glass sides and cupola-topped towers at each end. It will be 214 feet long and, at 14 feet wide, will comfortably accommodate bicycles and electric utility carts (such as golf carts) as well as pedestrians.

Once the bridge is finished, users can access it via a walkway in Eagle Village. They’ll have to turn right in front of what will be the Anderson Center and follow a path to the sidewalk on College Avenue to get to the campus or the College Heights neighborhood.

The first phase of Eagle Village’s renovation as a mixed-use property, which UMW’s nonprofit foundation is overseeing, also includes construction of a parking garage with office, retail and restaurant space, and an apartment-style dormitory that will be called Eagle Landing when it opens in August.

“They poured the final roofs on both buildings today, which could not have been better timing with the snow coming,” Rountree said last Friday. “Now we’re under roof and ready to go.”

To prepare for the interior portion of the project, construction workers have been building an exact replica of one of the new dorm apartments inside what used to be Frank’s Nursery & Crafts.

“Each subcontractor had to train on that model, and we had to inspect their work to make sure they were doing the right thing before we turned their crews loose on the site,” Rountree said. “The idea being we don’t want any mistakes since we’re replicating that 156 times. It’s expensive, but on a project on this scale it made sense to make the investment of time and money.”

Once the mock apartment is completed next month, UMW’s Residence Life staff will use it to give students a preview of what the new quarters will look like. Each apartment will have two bedrooms, which are designed for two students per room, plus two full baths, a living room and a full kitchen with eat-in bar. The residences will be reserved for upperclassmen, who will have the option to live in them year-round.

Rountree said the foundation will not begin planning the second phase of Eagle Village until the university’s master planners report their preliminary findings of the campus’ needs at the end of January. One possibility could be the need for additional dormitories at Eagle Village.

“If they don’t start their work with us until late January, it would be late April before we had anything,” Rountree said. “That would be a guess. The second phase might be a section of Eagle Village, and there could be additional phases.”

Cathy Jett: (540) 374-5407
Published: December 25, 2009 by The Free Lance-Star

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