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December 2009
Construction Update Message from Michele Frasier Wing
Director of Finance and Planning

The bids are in, the drawings are being finalized, and we are moving into the next phase of construction. We are nearly at the bottom of the hole across the street, and we are happily on schedule. To date, the contractors for the new academic building have built all the soldier piles (those concrete cylinders you see lining the edge of the hole that keep the dirt from falling back in) and taken away many, many truckloads of dirt. In the next phase, work will continue on the new academic building, with the addition of work resuming on the Robert B. Aikens Commons (if you want to know more about why it is now called Aikens Commons, check out this press release:).

During study days and finals, work will be reduced and contained to the new academic building site, so noise will be at a minimum and should not disrupt exams. After the last day of finals, there will be a flurry of activity during the holiday and semester break to move the project along. You will see several changes when you return—a new fence on the southeast corner of the quad that will serve as a "lay down" area for the project (i.e., the place where they can "lay down " equipment and materials—we do not expect this to have any impact on the library below); and both temporary sound barrier walls inside the building on the first and second floors (around B42, B52, 150HH, 250HH, 9th floor LR, and the Reading Room), and a sound barrier in 100HH, which will help contain construction noise.

Because some of the work in the next phase is noisy, we will be starting work on some parts of the project after 4p.m. Since it gets dark at approximately 5:03p.m. these days, we are limited to construction work that is safe to do in the dark, so certain parts of the project, like steel and masonry work, will still be done during the day (these have to be done with cranes, and crane operation must be done in daylight). We will continue to monitor noise throughout—our priority is to coexist with the project and keep classes functioning.

Next semester we will see an increase in the number of contractors in the building, and lots of work on the 9th floor Legal Research tower (where the new bridge will be located) and in the hole that will one day be Aiken's Commons. We'll do some work inside of the building to get ready for connecting Hutchins to Aikens Commons, including removing some of the enormous, copper ventilation equipment that is original to the building. It will be replaced with modern equipment that is less than a quarter the size of the old. In addition, we'll "gut" 150HH to make way for the new café.

This is just an outline, and we will keep you posted on our progress (and post pictures when we can). Keep checking this site for updated information, and look for us at an information table in Hutchins Hall at the end of January.

To our students, good luck on finals—we wish you rest and relaxation on your break. Oh, and say goodbye to 150 HH on your way out—it will, thankfully, never be the same.

Michele Frasier Wing 

Hello all,

As you have likely surmised from the earth-digging machinery now across the street, the building project is about to begin in earnest. By January, we can expect a good deal of construction traffic and activity. Michele Frasier Wing, director of finance and planning, and Lois Harden, facilities manager, will be managing communication regarding the project. We’re also unveiling a new building website, where members of the Law School community and visitors can find information about the construction and renovation, a timeline, answers to frequently asked questions, and construction updates. The site includes some engaging multimedia features as well, including webcam shots of the construction progress and a beautiful 3-D animation of both our new academic building and the Robert B. Aikens Commons. I hope you’ll watch the animation, it provides a realistic perspective of what the new spaces will look like and feel like.

Regular construction updates will be posted on the administrative portal and MLaw Live as well as on the new website. These updates will include notifications when we’re expecting noise or other disruptions. Let me address the issue of noise more specifically: We will experience some -- not all the time, certainly, but noise and other disruptions are an inevitable part of any construction project. Michele, Lois, David Baum, and others will be monitoring this carefully, and they will work to help address any significant classroom or event problems that might arise. The construction managers are aware of our academic and exam schedules for the next two years, and will do their best to avoid substantial conflict with our academic activities.

Here is the new building and construction website, which goes live today. And an amusing side note: The building communications team wanted to create a special logo to identify all communications regarding construction. You’ll find the quizzical image on the upper left-hand side of the new website. Click on it to find out more.

My best wishes for an enjoyable holiday break.

Best, Evan

Fall 2009
In the fall of 2009, a fence will be built around the top of the underground library in order to use that area for construction staging. There will be considerable truck traffic between the staging area and our two construction sites, but Monroe and Oakland will remain accessible for foot and vehicle traffic.

Starting 5:30pm Friday, 10/16/09, Walbridge Construction will be preparing for a new conduit run to replace an existing telecommunications closet in machine room B50. This work will affect the following areas: the corridor running east to west in the basement of Hutchins Hall, near B38; locker room B42; and classrooms 150 and 250 in Hutchins Hall. Workers will be coring the floors in classrooms 250 and 150 after 5:30pm Friday evening. This work will generate a lot of noise. Asbestos abatement and containment will be done on Saturday, 10/17/09. The asbestos abatement is ONLY taking place in classroom 150 and will be completely contained. There will be an air monitor in place during the abatement process. There are other plaster areas that will be demolished in the basement but these areas DO NOT contain asbestos. The conduit will be installed starting Saturday, 10/17, through Tuesday, 10/20. The locker room and the basement corridor will be accessible during this construction period.

Start auger piles for earth retention, 10/5-11/13/09.
There is a potential for noisy work beginning 10/1/09.

As of Sunday, September 27, 2009, the Monroe St. Parking Lot is permanently closed. All blue and gold permit holders should consider using the Hill St. parking structure. The Parking Services central campus map lists other parking options.

You should contact Parking Services at 764-8291 if you have any questions about changing your parking pass to yellow or orange. 

 Construction Timeline

If you have any concerns or questions during this process please contact Lois at

By now you should have seen the message from Evan that our construction project has been fully approved by the Regents. I want to share with you the tentative construction schedule to give you a general sense of where and when the disruptions will take place. This is tentative and subject to change. We won't have a detailed schedule until after construction bidding is complete.

The first construction bid packages for some utility work, demolition of 712 Oakland (the vacant apartment building next to the parking lot), and excavation are going out to bid immediately. We expect the utility work and the apartment demolition to take place in late June and July. The parking lot will remain open through the summer. However, a total of 22 parking spaces will be unavailable - the gold parking spaces closest to the apartment building and the blue spaces closest to State Street.

During July and August we expect excavation of the new Commons to begin. You will hear quite a bit of noise during this period as they dig down to the basement level and shore up the structure of our existing buildings. From the end of August and through the fall semester it will be relatively quiet in this area. Actual construction of the Commons will begin in January 2010 but the excavation was moved up to the summer of 09 in order to not interfere with fall classes.

At the end of September, 2009 the parking lot will close permanently. Please keep this in mind as you make decisions about parking permits for next year. You can obtain information about alternate parking locations on the Parking Office web site. The link is Temporary handicapped accessible parking spaces will be created at existing metered spaces on Monroe and State Streets.

Excavation for the new academic building should begin soon after the parking lot closes in the fall.

Final bidding and contracting for the major construction of the Commons and the new academic building will be complete in the late fall. We expect to begin building the foundations and steel structures of both buildings in January 2010. There will be disruptions and construction noise at the west end of the 9th floor of Legal Research beginning then and continuing through the winter 2010 semester. This is to build a new bridge from the 3rd floor of Hutchins that connects into the southwest legal research tower.

In the fall of 2009 a fence will be built around the top of the underground library in order to use that area for construction staging. There will be considerable truck traffic between the staging area and our two construction sites. However, Monroe and Oakland will remain accessible for foot and vehicle traffic.

In May, 2010 we expect to begin recladding the stacks. Many stacks offices, and probably most, will be unusable between May 2010 and August 2010. Details for this are far from finalized. As more details are known, occupants of the stacks will be informed and alternate working arrangements will be made.

Construction of both buildings will continue until at least the fall of 2011. We hope the project will be complete by January of 2012.

Our construction managers are aware of our academic and exam schedules for the next several years. Many of the start dates for the most noisy work are being timed so as to have the least conflict with our academic activities. However, once the project begins, there will be a lot of noise and a lot of disruption. It cannot be avoided. What the project team will do is keep you informed about what to expect in the way of noise so that you can plan accordingly. We thank you for your patience and understanding.

In summary, the general schedule is as follows:

May, 2009 – Construction bid packages for some utility work, demolition of apartment bldg. 712 Oakland go out to bid.
June-July 2009 – Utility Work and 712 Oakland demolition.
July-August 2009 – Excavation for the new Commons begins.
September 2009 – Parking lot closes permanently. Excavation for New Academic Bldg to begin.
Late Fall 2009 – Final bidding and contracting for the major construction of the Commons and the New Academic Bldg will be complete.
Fall 2009 – A fence will be built around the top of the underground library for construction staging.
January 2010 – Building begins on foundations and steel structures of both the Commons and the new Academic building.
January 2010 - work begins on new connection from Hutchins to southwest Legal Research tower.
May 2010 – Begin recladding stacks.
August 2010 – Finish recladding stacks Fall 2010 – install glass roof on the Commons January 2012 – Estimated completion of Commons and academic building




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