For the past few years, it has seemed like one construction project on the University of Oregon campus is finished and another begins.

These campus changes are all part of the UO’s rolling 10-year plan, with some being funded by donations and gifts and others being tied to the regular cost of living for students on campus. Some of the most notable projects on campus will be completed by the start of the fall semester.

Here are the key changes that are happening on campus and where they will be once completed.

Thanks Hall

The newest dormitory on campus – Unthank Hall – is one of the most noticeable ongoing changes on campus right now. Located on Agate Street, Unthank is named after DeNorval Unthank Jr., who became the first African American to graduate from the UO’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts and who designed McKenzie and Bean halls on campus.

Crews have been working on this project since winter 2019 as Phase 1 of the UO’s Hamilton and Walton Hall Transformation Project, approved by the Board of Trustees in September 2019 and valued at $ 87 million. Unthank Hall will have multiple dining options for students, a sports bar-like space open to everyone on campus, and a welcome center for new students.

The new seven-story dormitory is nearing completion and towers over the outdated neighbor it is replacing: Hamilton Hall. Inside, workers work on the finishing touches such as paint and decals, and move furniture.

During the last week of August, crews focused on outside list repairs, HVAC commissioning, catering operations commissioning, and training, according to the UO website.

“It’s on schedule and on budget,” said Michael Harwood, vice president, campus planning and facility management. “Students are moving this fall.”

Walton Hall

Walton Hall remodeling is phase 2 of UO’s dormitory transformation plan and is ongoing. The crews are tearing down parts of the old building, starting with the wing closest to Agate Street.

They began demolishing in late June, Harwood said, and by mid-August they had dismantled east-facing walls to expose the identical insides of the dormitory.

“Before we started the demolition, we turned on BRING Recycling to try to recycle some of the fixtures and furniture,” said Harwood. “We also took out things that we could reuse on campus, like doors and hardware. BRING Recycling has taken a lot of wood out of the built-in (dormitories) ”such as desks and cupboards.

The crews have to dismantle them piece by piece in order to take potential hazardous substances into account.

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“They have to get rid of asbestos, every color of lead they can find … all of that has to be specially handled before we take a wrecking ball,” said Harwood.

All of Walton Hall is slated to be demolished by November. Unthank Hall will be open and Hamilton will be hosting students this year so no rooms will be lost while old Walton is cleared and a new one is built in the same location.

Then Hamilton will be demolished and remodeled into a new green space about 20% larger than what students affectionately call “The Humpy Lumpy Lawn” where Unthank Hall is now. This is phase 3.

“You can see all the way (across campus) to the Matthew Knight Arena,” said Harwood. “It won’t be quite as bumpy and lumpy, but it will be a functional green space.”

These last two phases should be completed by summer 2023.

Huestis hall

The Huestis Hall, built in 1974, is also getting a facelift, with UO planning to start construction in the spring.

The renovation project is funded by the Oregon State Legislature. The building is a center for science programs, teaching laboratories, and research. In August, UO began preparing other rooms on campus to house these programs and labs during the renovation.

There are some obvious problems with the building that are immediately apparent. Harwood, for example, pointed out the coating that was used on the concrete before it ran and left streaks along the outside walls. But beneath the surface there are other problems to be solved. The entire mechanics are, for example, in the basement.

“We have to get a lot of things out of the way, redesign the mechanical systems and the electrical systems,” said Harwood.

As with Walton, they have to get rid of huestis, remove asbestos, and tear down walls. The windows will also be replaced and a new elevator installed, along with major seismic upgrades. However, brick and concrete are preserved.

“This will be a demolition down to the studs, which means we’ve removed all surfaces, mechanical and electrical stuff, essentially leaving the floors, exterior walls and structure.”

Harwood hopes to start construction in the spring or summer of 2022.

University and Villard Halls

UO has yet to begin renovating the University and Villard Halls, which are the oldest historic buildings on campus at over 150 years old. The state is also funding this renovation, known as the UO Heritage Renovation Project.

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The buildings are in need of serious renovation to ensure safety, accessibility and seismic upgrades. “They’re great on the outside, but the inside is inefficient,” said Harwood.

UO is still in the early planning phase and is working out the logistics, for example where the programs in the buildings should go while the work is being done.

“We thought we’d be most efficient when we did them together. So if you have carpenters or something, it’s more efficient instead of building a building and then coming back later and building the next building,” he said. “But we didn’t figure this piece out. That’s the plan, that’s the concept. How we’re going to do it, that’s what we’re talking about right now.”

The start of construction is planned for the beginning of 2023, the completion of the projects for the end of 2024.

Contact reporter Jordyn Brown at or 541-246-4264 and follow her on Twitter @thejordynbrown and Instagram @registerguard. Support local journalism by subscribing to The Register-Guard.