September 29, 2010
It was great to see so many of you stopping by the Construction Information Table to pick up your T-shirts! We're always happy to answer questions, but the table gives us a chance to see you and to talk in person.
The contractors continue to make great progress on both the Aikens Commons and the new academic building. On the first floor of the academic building, walls are going up that will define classrooms, the lounge, and office space for the Office of Career Services and the Office of Public Service. The amount of drywall to be installed in the building is enough to make a 4-foot-wide path from the Law Quad to downtown Brighton (around 18 miles' worth)!
Many thanks to everyone for the quick and efficient response to the fire drill last week. Unfortunately, we are required to do these drills periodically, and we do get evaluated; we did well this time, so we appreciate you taking it seriously. We have, by the way, had several inquiries about the new smoke detectors and alarm strobes covered with plastic or tape. These devices are all brand new and will be activated next year when the fire/life safety upgrades are completed.
A few things to note for this and next week:
Work on the slate roof and window installation on the new academic building begins next week. This effort to get the building completely enclosed before winter will help the project move along during the cold, wet months. There will be a lot of crane activity both across the street and on the south and west sides of the stacks, as we continue glass roof installation and complete stone work on Legal Research. Keep your eyes up and be careful as you walk down Monroe.
Tea Room window preparation will begin this week, but the Tea Room will be available for use until Friday. On Friday, they will be drilling holes to anchor the new windows, so we expect you may hear it a bit in the Reading Room and in some places in the stacks.
Oakland Avenue should be opened again by Monday. Monroe Street will likely not be closed for a few more weeks, but we will keep you posted.
Legal Research elevator doors will be painted on Friday. We do not expect to have to shut down the elevators; just be careful as you walk in and out so you don’t get paint on yourself.
And finally, the campus has begun turning on the steam to the buildings, so we will have heat in the very near future. Hard to believe it was in the high 80s just last week…
—Michele Frasier Wing, '98, Director of Finance and Planning
September 17, 2010
The Halfway Mark!
Surprise! When classes ended in May, you might have surmised we would make progress on the building project during the summer break—but did you imagine this? As you can see, we’ve had an incredibly productive summer, and we can now proudly say we are halfway through the project! Across the street, where there was just a hole in the ground when some folks last saw it, we now have the steel frame, concrete decking, and a bit of exterior stone on our 100,000 (plus)-square-foot building. We anticipate having it completely "closed in" by October. Contractors will begin installing the windows, and you will see how much glass is featured in the new building. It will really shine!
Over the summer we witnessed major milestones, including the demolition of the old bridge and stacks façade, "topping out" of the project (the ceremonial signing and lifting into place of the final steel beam by the steel workers), and the installation of the skylight in the Robert B. Aikens Commons. We've put together slideshows of each of these events, so be sure to check the multimedia page of this site to get caught up.
Also, take a look at the stone mock-up on the north side of Monroe, on top of the underground library. The masons built it as a guide to putting stone on the new academic building. It has all the components of the real walls and demonstrates, should anyone need a refresher, the order and style for composing the stone pattern on the outside walls. We are using granite from the same quarry—Plymouth Quarries in Weymouth, Massachusetts—that supplied it when the Quad was being built nearly a century ago. The amber color used in the Quad is rare, so we made a substantial effort to find a mix of stones that would work well with the older stone on the Quad.
Noticeably changed inside of Hutchins and Legal Research are the stair enclosures at the basement, third, and fourth floors of Hutchins, and at the basement and ninth floor of Legal Research. These are stairwell firewalls, part of the overall improvements to the life safety systems in Hutchins and Legal Research. Work on these systems was incorporated into the building project for efficiency and will be completed sometime next summer. Although the contractors are finished with most of the work inside of Hutchins for now, we will still have construction of the two major projects outside of the building. We will continue to manage noise issues throughout the semester, including significant noise reduction during finals.
And have you used the gorgeous new bridge to get from Hutchins to Legal Research? It is such an enormous improvement over the tin-can look of the old structure. My favorite perspective is looking west from the new bridge, toward the small courtyard in Hutchins—the new bridge revealed a beautiful view of the building we hadn’t been able to see before.
Looking down from the bridge, you can also see the skeleton of the skylight for the Aikens Commons. Within the next few days, the rest of the Commons structure will be completed so that glass installation can begin around September 20. We will keep you posted on the schedule so that you can stop by and get a close view of the process from the bridge.
I know many alumni will cheer with us about the remarkable change to the stacks section of Legal Research. Can you believe that when aluminum siding was installed, the aluminum was accepted as a fine choice because it would age and take on a "patina" the way copper does? Gone is the aluminum, replaced with stone and beautiful new windows, which are also much more effective shields against harsh weather. The three different materials in the new façade are limestone, granite, and "glass fiber reinforced concrete" or GFRC. The limestone and granite make up the piers that run vertically up the building. GFRC makes up the flat panels below each of the windows. GFRC was chosen because it is a light material that can be attached to the existing structure, but it resembles the limestone features of our buildings. I am struck by the careful detail throughout this building project, from the quarried stone to the special architectural flair of the bridge and the new facade.
There is so much more to tell, and future updates will include some interesting facts about the new and the improved buildings. For those of you new to the Law School, the construction website is the place where we will keep you updated on any construction news, so please be sure to check it regularly.
Please be sure to stop by the Information Table we will have set up on September 23, in Hutchins Hall—we'll have gifts to welcome you back and will answer your questions about the construction.
September 3, 2010
On Wednesday, September 13, the northern portion of Oakland Avenue, at the Monroe Street intersection, will be closed to through traffic to begin installation of underground utilities. Once the work on Oakland is complete (September 20), Monroe Street, from Oakland to State Street, will be closed for the contractors for additional underground utilities work. The sidewalk will not be closed until later in the project, but the load/unload area on the street at Hutchins Hall will no longer be available. We expect the Monroe Street closure to begin September 21 and go into the summer of 2011. The end date for closure will be determined by the project needs.
Stacks offices and carrels are finished and back online! Thanks to the hard work of our contractors (and Facilities Manager Lois Harden) we were able to finish just in time. PLEASE remember that windows cannot be opened right now because of the hydrolifts and masons outside of the building. We expect the hydrolifts to come down sometime in mid-September, and windows can be fully operated after that time.
Though the contractors are largely finished with renovation work in existing buildings, there are a few projects that will be completed within the next couple of weeks. You will notice people on ladders completing fire system devices and workers completing the stair enclosures. The contractors made a tremendous effort to finish everything and be out of Hutchins and Legal Research in time for school. We are very grateful for their hard work this summer!
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