Electrical Concerns Delay Rice Facility Construction

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Rice University is in the midst of constructing a new indoor practice facility, but concerns about electrical work have delayed the project by several months. 

Student newspaper the Rice Thresher reports that the indoor practice facility had an original target completion date of Sept. 1, but will now target May 2020.

“There [were] electrical issues figuring out the best way to pull the power from … either the stadium or the Patterson Center,” Rice deputy AD Rick Mello told the Thresher. “The other thing is we had initial conversations with a vendor about the electricity, and there was a disconnect between what they were going to provide and what we were going to provide, which made us revisit the project.”

The facility will reportedly be constructed within the interior of a bike track that the university uses for an event called Beer Bike, which is set to take place in April. Mello told the Thresher that he doesn’t expect the delayed timeline to disrupt training or competition for the event.

“From what I understand, they’ll be able to do the construction in the middle of the track [without interfering with the track] … because there is a lot of room between the dome and the track, and usually they would put up some kind of barrier for safety,” Mello said. 

Construction on the facility — colloquially referred to as the “dome” or the “bubble” due to its inflatable roof — is expected to begin with the interior near the end of November, pending permit approval. 

The dome will be used by athletics, but Mello said he expects that intramurals, recreation and club sports will also benefit from the facility.

“Where it’s really going to be heavily used is campus rec, because they’ve had issues with fields, especially in inclement weather,” Mello told the Thresher.

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