EUGENE, Ore. — A huge construction project shrouded in secrecy is–if possible–becoming even more mysterious.
Crews are building the exterior of the University of Oregon’s latest addition: an athletics operations center. Construction on the building began earlier this year, and as you drive along you can see things are changing.
Piece by piece, this more than $60 million project is coming together. Crews are currently building up a high, thick wall made of large blocks of black basalt rock. It’s stirring up images of medieval times.
“It’s definitely a big wall and it does come across as maybe a big castle or fortress, but that is kind of our castle in Eugene. So if it’s gonna look like that, that’s what it’s gonna look like you know. That is our kingdom is Autzen Stadium,” said Phillip Barry, The Cooler General Manager.
Others didn’t quite see it that way.
“It kind of reminds me of the days of the Roman Empire or something like that where people didn’t care about the effects of their decisions on others,” said Kimberly Warner, Licensed Clinical Social Worker with PeaceHealth at Lane County Mental Health Center.
But how does it fit in with the rest of the athletic complex next to Autzen? University reps wouldn’t say, yet.
“Once the building is done, I think people will see how it fits in very well. Previously there was basically a fence there with trees, so it’s pretty much the same as it was before,” said Craig Pintens, Senior Associate Athletic Director.
While some folks picture a castle or fortress being built behind the wall, most of the people we spoke with weren’t so caught up in the physical aspects of the building, but the symbolism.
“Progress, that’s what I see. I see the university stepping up more than one notch…Overall, the athletics department is stepping up. Significant,” said Rex Starr, OR Trail Council Boy Scouts of America.
We tried to reach the architectural firm on the job, but no one returned our calls.
University reps say they hope the project will be finished by next summer.