University News

Facilities completes summer upgrades

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Walkways on Lincoln Field were replaced, and new bike racks were added around campus.

The Department of Facilities Management completed nearly all of its planned projects this summer, bringing new sidewalks, lighting and bicycle racks to campus along with other upgrades and improvements.

Including capital projects, the total cost of summer work was about $47 million, said Paul Dietel, director of project management.

New bike racks have been installed in a number of locations around campus, including the Main Green and the BioMed Center. These installations represent progress but are not finished, Dietel said. Facilities hopes to install more racks in the future to meet demand.

The Main Green is now safer for nighttime pedestrians, thanks to the installation of additional lighting, particularly near Sayles and Wilson halls. “There were some areas that were a little bit darker than they should be,” Dietel said. “We think we’ve achieved a much more consistent lighting level throughout the Green.”

Gillian Horwitz ’14 said the Green “is definitely brighter at night.”

Though the renovation of  the Metcalf Chemistry and Research Laboratory will continue until October, the pathway in front of the building on Lincoln Field was reopened this semester.

“It is nice that that’s all done,” Horwitz said, noting the reopened walkway is “less of a mess.”

The sidewalks on Lincoln Field and elsewhere on campus were also replaced.

Outside the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center, what was once a parking lot is being transformed into Ittleson Quadrangle, a new green space for the athletic complex set to open in the spring. A portion is now open, while the remainder is still under construction.

Some classrooms, such as MacMillan 117, received new painting and carpeting.

Facilities repainted 456 rooms in 24 residence halls this summer, according to Dietel. Some residence halls also received lighting upgrades, part of a larger initiative to make the University’s buildings more energy-efficient, Dietel said. The showers in some Goddard House bathrooms were “completely gutted out and renovated,” Dietel said. “Several of these showers were leaking to the point where we couldn’t maintain them.”

Tropical Storm Irene did not inhibit summer work. “There was no impact on construction as a result of the storm,” Dietel said. “All of our construction sites were secured in advance of the storm” to prevent damage, he said.

Overall, “everything went according to plan” with over 100 projects completed, Dietel said. “I’m very pleased with our progress.”

A few summer projects were put on hold due to budget constraints, Dietel said. Some of the crosswalks on Thayer Street were slated to be repainted in a simpler design, but “based on the pricing,” that project was put on hold while alternatives are considered, he said.

Solar panels were supposed to have been installed on the roof of the GeoChem Building, but due to some structural issues, it “did not make sense economically to move forward” by the time the design on the project was finished, Dietel said.

A plan to create new exit pathways on the east side of Caswell Hall was deferred until next summer.

The University was busy at work off College Hill as well. The new Medical Education Building opened Aug. 15 to much fanfare. Renovations on 121 South Main St. for the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics were completed in July, and work continues on 198 Dyer St., the future home of the Office of Continuing Education.

“We’re getting ready to start construction” on the renovation of 315 Thayer St., which will house about 60 students when it opens next fall, Dietel said. And the renovation of Hunter Laboratory is currently in the design phase, with its “comprehensive renovation” planned to start in April 2012. The project will involve the construction of a new greenhouse on the roof and the removal of the existing Plant Environmental Center to create an extension of the Walk to Lincoln Field.