Campus center construction continues through snowy weather

Deborah Nixon

Walking past the campus center construction, one can only see snow drifts huddled around construction equipment through the surrounding high fence. Yet this otherwise quiet environment is punctuated by the noises of construction crews and equipment from deep within the foundation pit of the future four-level building. These sounds stand as evidence that work continues on the site, despite the snow and chilly weather. Although construction continues, the snow has caused some delays, cancelling work on many days and increasing the work load on the few good days. Lynn Hagee, Campus Center Project Coordinator, comments, “When the crews have been able to work, there has been the added task of getting rid of the snow in the work areas.” Formerly, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) allowed workers to dump excess snow into the Fox River. However, due to new DNR requirements, Lawrence has to hire trucks to haul snow away to another dumping site. This requirement takes time away from the main construction work.

Once the snow has been cleared from the work area, workers also have to use heaters to warm the forms and concrete. Otherwise, the workers would not be able to pour the concrete. Hagee explains that this “heating process must be continued as the concrete cures.” This curing process has several steps. Hagee continues, “When the project manager thinks the concrete is ready, a cast concrete cylinder is sent for testing to determine its strength. When the proper strength has been reached the forms are removed and the crew moves to another section.” The crews are currently pouring the floor of the future cinema on the center’s second level.

Hagee confirms that there have been no major changes for the building’s intended use. She comments, “Our details are always being honed.” The campus center planning committee has been working on the technical structure of the building, finding it necessary to add drop boxes, a storage cabinet for equipment, and a scissors lift for a projector. Hagee adds, “This is a very detailed and complex part of the building and required early attention because the [electrical] conduit is located in the concrete walls and floors.”

The planning committee has also started to plan the area for the river walk, which will start at Trever Hall and move toward the sustainable garden behind the Union. This river walk will follow a plan designed by students in Assistant Professor of Geology Andrew Knudsen’s environmental studies class. A planning workshop between the architects and environmental studies professors will begin in early March.

At this time, the committee expects that the campus center will be completed in June 2009 and will be officially opened in September 2009. The pedestrian land bridge across Lawe Street is expected to open by the end of this coming August.