From Tim Wynn: 'Desk Notes, Vol. 5' regarding summer construction

This is the fifth edition of my "Desk Notes." One of the best parts of doing this bi-weekly memo is the feedback that I am getting from all over campus. Sometimes the feedback is not necessarily something that I like to hear, but it definitely is something that I need to hear. I try to make sure that each question gets answered by either me or my staff. If I have missed replying, please try again, as I may have missed some because of the amount of message traffic or a random spam filter that seems to be functioning in my computer with the sole purpose of driving me nuts.

We are working very hard to complete all the summer projects prior to start of class. We are prioritizing the residence hall work and the classroom work. The annual steam shutdown was completed on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and we are fully operational as of today. The plumbers, steam engineers, insulators and electricians have done a fantastic job during this period to take maximum opportunity of the system downtime to perform critical maintenance and repair.

I missed thanking a group of individuals who worked on the Carver Gym sewer repair job. That group was, of course, the academic custodians. They spent long hours cleaning up the area after the plumbers and maintenance mechanics were finished.  Thanks to them, the area is ready to support the PEHR department and the students.

Most of you have seen the tower crane that is looming over Miller Hall. This is the most obvious manifestation of the work that is going on within the 1960s wing of the building. Work there will be increasing in intensity all this fall as Dawson Construction works to complete that wing of the building by the end of this academic year. Once they have completed that first phase, Woodring College gets to move again into the newly renovated wing while the old 1940s wing is renovated. Needless to say, everyone is focused on finishing the first phase on time so that the moves can be executed in the summer. Thanks again to the staff and faculty of Woodring for bearing the brunt of this renovation. It would have been impossible to do without their active cooperation and participation. We are determined that you will say "it was worth it" when we are completed.

On a related note, the temporary home for the Miller Market is up and running on Red Square. Sodexho has done a great job at putting a lot of services in a restricted area. I was asked by one person why we chose to have the door to this operation in a southern orientation when everyone knows that most of the storms in winter have strong rain and wind coming from the south. The answer is simply location and access. The placement of the trailer on Red Square was driven by location of utility hookups, and the orientation of the trailer was driven by the desire to have the most convenient visible access to the students, staff and faculty using Red Square. If the orientation proves to be a problem, we will work with Sodexho to make appropriate adjustments to the entrance.

I had hoped to be able to announce the completion of the repaving of parking lot 17G with this edition of "Desk Notes."  Unfortunately, we ran into a water line that was not where it was supposed to be. Because it was a line that would be used by the fire department to fight fires in Environmental Sciences or Arntzen Hall, we had to stop all work and coordinate with the fire department before we moved it. We are back on the job now, and the contractor should be able to finish by Sept. 18 (My apologies to all of the returning staff and faculty members who are inconvenienced by this delay). Once that parking lot is back in operation, we will be rerouting all traffic going to the Old Main and Fraser Hall area through the lot and by the manned kiosk. This will, we hope, increase safety and reduce congestion on the very narrow access road that has been left behind Miller Hall.

There is one project that I have not mentioned in "Desk Notes" that deserves special attention. Academic Technology and User Services (ATUS) has moved Lab and Classroom Services and the ATUS administrative offices from Miller Hall into Haggard Hall in advance of the Miller Hall renovation work. The Student Technology Center was moved to the second floor of Haggard, near the Library Reference Desk, as part of this summer renovation.  ATUS and the Library used the STC move to merge services to better serve the campus in providing students, faculty members and staff with combined resources.

On other projects of significance:

  • Tiger Construction has substantially completed the reconfiguration of the south campus bike and pedestrian pathways. There is still some landscaping that has to be accomplished, but the pathways are now available for use. As you may recall, the intent of this project was to encourage bike users and pedestrians to move away from East College Way with its heavy construction-related traffic and into the central campus pathways. Realizing that it is the preference of many individuals to take the straightest line of travel between two points regardless of obstacles or safety considerations, we hope you will give the new pathways a try. It will increase safety for all and just might make it a more enjoyable trip.
  • Humanities Building ventilation improvements: We have had some difficulty getting the contractor to complete the final corrective work. This should not create any difficulty for the occupants other than an occasional worker moving through the area to touch up paint or replace a fixture. This remaining work should be completed prior to start of classes.
  • The Environmental Science Building has experienced a series of water interruptions as we have replaced the old, non-code-compliant fire pump with a brand new fire pump hooked to a dedicated emergency generator and separate (redundant) domestic water pumps. This work will be completed prior to the start of classes. We apologize for any inconvenience to the occupants of ES for these necessary outages.
  • The Chemistry Building addition project is proceeding according to schedule. Selective demolition of existing mechanical and electrical systems is nearly complete. Chemistry Building personnel have been very accommodating during utility shut-downs. The addition foundations are complete, and support column formwork is being erected. Within the next few weeks, new walls will be framed within the existing building and mechanical/electrical installation will begin. The addition steel framework is now being fabricated and is expected on campus within a couple of weeks.
  • Workers on the Wilson Library Special Collections project have finished wall framing and mechanical/electrical rough-in. They are on schedule for completion in the late fall.
  • The Parks Hall ground floor remodel is still progressing very well. We are working on "punch lists" and checking out all the utilities. The area is scheduled to be available for move-in today.
  • Shannon Point Marine Center: We are still struggling with the new pump system. The contractor has been slow to replace a failed pump, although we are contacting him daily. We hope to have the new system on line and working reliably by the end of September.
  • Fairhaven Complex: The sprinkler system is complete, and the stacks are ready for student arrival. The work on the rock wall along the Fairhaven Access Road is moving slowly due to other high priority work for the utility workers and probably will not be complete prior to move-in. However, we will not be working during the time the students are moving in. The road will be fully accessible for that critical period (Sept. 18 to 21).

All for now. I hope everyone had a great summer.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009