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The University is reaching out to its neighbors to inform them of the impending construction of the new aquatics and fitness center, said Jennifer Braga, government relations and community affairs liaison.

Construction of the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center and Jonathan Nelson '77 Fitness Center — located at the corner of Hope and Cushing streets — will begin this summer and is projected to end January 2012, Braga said.

A letter was delivered last Wednesday to Moses Brown School, Wheeler School and residents along Stimson Avenue, which will be affected by the construction, Braga said. The letter contains general information about the construction project and a picture of the design of the building. It also promises continuous communication with the neighbors throughout the construction process, she said.

The work schedule for the construction will be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., said Stephen Maiorisi, vice president for facilities management. Maiorisi said the construction parking will be on site, so parking will be available to the community after 5 p.m.

As for the dust that construction will generate, "the key is to have really good communication with the neighbors," Maiorisi said. He added that steel erection is not as loud as some other kinds of construction.

As with all major University construction projects, there will be a Construction Mitigation Plan to minimize the impact of construction on the neighborhood, said Albert Dahlberg, director of state and community relations. Some of the University's actions include systems for directing pedestrians, traffic control plans, dust- and noise-control measures, badges for off-site parking for contractors and wheel cleaning for vehicles departing the complex to prevent spreading dirt, Dahlberg said.

The University will hold a series of meetings open to the public to discuss issues related to the construction of the center, Dahlberg said. The first meeting will be held March 31 to give a quick overview of the project and to discuss the design and the parking reconfigurations, he said. The second meeting, to be held in June before the construction begins, will provide more details about the project, he said.

E-mail invitations to the meetings will be delivered to members of the larger community surrounding the University, including institutions and residents in College Hill, Fox Point, Jewelry District and Mount Hope areas, Braga said.

Ms. Soltani, who lives at 19 Stimson Ave. and declined to give The Herald her first name, said she is concerned about the dust and noise that the construction will bring.

"That means our summer is ruined," Soltani said, adding that it was so dusty when the old Smith Swim Center was being demolished that she had to keep her windows closed. She hopes the construction will "go fast," she said. She received the letter from the University and said the effort to communicate with neighbors is "absolutely appreciated."

Gary Esposito, the Wheeler School's business manager, said someone from the Wheeler School will attend the University's meetings to learn more about the construction. He said he is concerned about the potential impact of the construction, but is confident that the University will be "sensitive" about the issue as "they always are."

In the past, the University has always communicated with the community before major construction projects, Braga said. She said she has received mainly positive feedback regarding the University's notifications and no complaints about the construction projects.
"We've been really vigilant about minimizing impact and about communicating things that are coming up," Braga said.

The University has been "very informative and very proactive" with construction projects, Esposito said. He said he has been constantly receiving e-mails from the University informing him of developments in the construction of the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts.

Son Ho, owner of Phonatic Restaurant, located opposite the creative arts center currently under construction, said the project is taking a long time and the noise and blocking of the sidewalk is creating inconvenience for his customers. He said a light that was left on at night used to bother people sitting in the restaurant.

In response to the community's requests for regular meetings, the University will hold bimonthly meetings open to the public regardless of whether there is a new construction project, Braga said.

She said the goal of these meetings is "to build a sense of community between people at Brown and our neighbors," to keep the community informed of the construction and other topics of interest and "to create a regular two-way dialogue."
 




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