Rebekah Brancato News Editor
Many students may already know about the renovations occurring in the Communication Building and Goddard Hall, but many are wondering about why so many sidewalks and Eastern Road are closed.
The construction occurring in front of Webb causing a shutdown of Eastern Road and the sidewalk by the Communication Building is an emergency construction project caused by a leak in the High Temperature Hot Water System, which supplies heat to the South Campus. According to Eastern’s Director of Facilities Management & Planning, Renee Theroux-Keech, this issue was discovered in August, and “the piping in the manhole in front of Webb Hall to the manhole outside of the boiler plant needs to be replaced”. The completion date for this project is mid to late October.
In addition, there is masonry work being done on Wood Hall and the Library, necessitating closure of sidewalks near Goddard Hall. The purpose of this work is to “replace flashing and caulking, making the building water tight, and extending the life of the exterior skin of the building,” Theroux-Keech shared. The completion date for this project is also mid-October.
Some of the challenges faced with construction include scheduling and funding. “Most of our work is planned around the academic calendar so that we have as little effect on students as possible. However, some work cannot be completed over the course of our 12 week break during the summer and must either begin or extend into the academic year. Almost all of our work requires a building permit and a public bidding process, so even though construction may start in May, the design, permitting process and bidding usually takes place at least six months ahead of time,” Theroux-Keech explained.
Construction projects completed on campus are detailed in The Master Plan, which “takes a look at the Mission of the Institution, the condition of building, as well as current and projected enrollment” in order to create a plan for the build of new facilities or renovation of existing facilities, continued Theroux-Keech. “Goddard Hall and the Communication building were both constructed in the 1970’s and were not up to current technological standards or space standards needed to provide proper instruction.” The renovation of Goddard Hall is expected to be completed in July 2019.
Future projects include the replacement of the elevators in Webb Hall, as well as brick and roofing replacement for Burnap, Crandall, and Noble Halls. While the elevator replacement for Webb is scheduled for November, with equipment already ordered, work on Burnap, Crandall, and Noble is still in the “final phases of design” and will be going for building permits late this fall, with work commencing in May.
Additional future projects, which are contingent on Board of Regents approval, “include a new Sports Center as outlined in our most recent Master Plan completed in 2015, a new Health Services Center, and upgrades to some of our campus utilities.” In addition, Shafer Hall, which previously housed the Performing Arts and Art History Departments, is being renovated into new apartments. “The building will feature a mix of studio style apartments as well as traditional suites for 93 students. It will also house a newly renovated Shafer Auditorium, a Café, a gymnasium for recreation space, and a fitness room that students from outside this Residence Hall can utilize. Shafer Hall will be complete in July of 2019.