Summer ends, construction on The Bluff continues

By Claire Desmarais | August 23, 2018 5:17pm

Construction on Franz Campus continues as a boathouse and dock, track and field and tennis center will be added.

Media Credit: Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Students coming back to campus after four months are returning to the sounds of drills, hammers and saws. Construction crews make their way around the steel skeleton of what will be Dundon-Berchtold Hall. The smell of wet paint lingers in the halls of St. Mary’s, which is in the midst of a major remodeling project. Bulldozers and backhoes occasionally drown out the sound of cargo ships passing through the Willamette River. 

There have been some exciting new additions to campus! Video by Erica Lavik

Franz Campus

Over the summer, work crews installed two athletic fields on the new 35-acre Franz Campus, formerly known as River Campus, one of the several construction sites at UP. The Campus was named after the late Robert W. Franz, whose estate donated a lead gift. 

When finished, the riverfront property will have two soccer fields, a boathouse and dock, track and field and a tennis center. The completion date is about two years away, according to Jim Ravelli, vice president of university relations.  

One of the fields is turf and the other is grass. 

There are two new soccer practice fields on Franz Campus.

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

“The fields on the Franz River Campus will be available for use by intramural, club sports and varsity athletics,” said Scott Leykam, vice president of athletics. “The turf field, which will be used for all sports and activities, will be open for business at the start of the school year.”

Leykam said the grass field will be used mainly for the men’s and women’s soccer teams. They’ll stop using the field in October to give the grass the best chance to grow for future use. 

Next on the list for completion are the track and boathouse in the Spring of 2019, but Ravelli said the construction schedule will depend on city approval and the required permits. It can take up to seven months or longer to complete the approval process, he said. 

Dundon-Berchtold Hall

Over the summer, construction crews completed the concrete foundation of the Dundon-Berchtold Hall and the steel frame is expected to be finished by Aug. 27, according to Ravelli. 

When completed, the academic building will have classrooms, offices and an auditorium named after Brian Doyle, former editor of UP’s Portland Magazine, who died of a brain tumor in May 2017. 

Construction of Dundon-Berchtold Hall continues work on the main entrance which includes a new plaza area, planting beds, walkways and re-alignment of the road.

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

The new academic building is scheduled for completion in either late May or early June of 2019, about six months behind of the original schedule.

In addition to the construction on Dundon-Berchtold Hall, crews renovated the main driveway, sidewalk and plaza next to The Bookstore. 

St. Mary’s Lounge

St. Mary’s renovation includes a new larger office space for Yuri Hernandez Osorio, coordinator for the Diversity and Inclusion Programs in the Student Activities Office. The office will be large enough for Hernandez Osorio to meet with several students at one time. 

The reception area for Student Activities is also being enlarged and reconfigured, in the hopes of making the space more open and inviting. 

Renovations in St. Mary's will create a space for Diversity and Inclusion on campus and a new office space for Yuri Hernandez Osorio.

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Also, the Associated Student of University of Portland (ASUP) offices are being remodeled. The project includes a new conference room and new office for Tyler Zimmerman, associated director of student engagement and advisor for ASUP, who was recently promoted from weekend and late night programmer. 

Construction began Aug. 1, but it is not clear when the project will be completed according to Jeromy Koffler, director of Student Activities. 

Buckley Center

Crews have also remodeled the nursing simulation lab on the third floor of Buckley Center. This includes updated rooms to provide a more realistic experience during the nursing students’ clinical.  

A Diversity Center on the first floor of Buckley Center is also under construction. The space is for all students to feel welcomed and included. The new Director of Diversity and Inclusion will have an office in the Center, but the position has not been filled yet. It is set to open in the fall of 2018. 

Claire Desmarais is the News and Managing Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at