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MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 17, 2017 – Southern College of Optometry today announced the upcoming renovation and expansion of the fourth floor of its 11-story tower in the Memphis Medical District.
The significant renovation calls for modern upgrades to the space, originally built in the 1970s, which currently houses the school’s diner, student lockers and study areas.
“This project is part of Southern College of Optometry’s long-term commitment to its students and to the local medical district as a whole,” said Dr. Lewis Reich, president of SCO. “SCO is strongly invested in the Memphis Medical District Collaborative and its efforts to improve the area. These renovations will help facilitate community development and create a top-tier learning environment for our students.”
The specific renovation plans include the considerable task of closing in balcony spaces to add 1,000 square feet of usable floor space. The changes, in addition to more efficiently using the space, will improve line flow at peak times. Additionally, the Blink Diner will be upgraded with an expanded kitchen. Its existing furniture will be replaced with new furnishings that can serve both dining and studying functions. Student lockers will be moved to the sixth floor. Lastly, the existing floor plan will be reconfigured to fill the space with more natural light.
“This project will provide students a centralized area to eat, study and meet,” Reich said. “By improving amenities and maximizing the building’s use of natural light, this floor will offer students a relaxing place to recharge between classes and labs.”
During the renovation, the Blink Diner will temporarily relocate to the sixth floor and offer a reduced menu available only for pick-up from May 4 through Sept. 29. Additionally, the second floor lobby, the third floor breezeway and the breezeway between the tower and The Eye Center will be completely closed off, with access to some classrooms and the third floor available from the south side of the building. Finally, one of the tower’s four elevators will be dedicated to construction use.
This architect behind the renovation and expansion design is Formus, Inc. Grinder Taber Grinder will lead construction, which is scheduled to begin in April 2017 and is set to be completed in fall 2017.