Construction to Restrict Barrows Use





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Occupants of Barrows Hall may be forced to work in the building's basement or at home this summer because of extremely noisy seismic retrofitting - and classes may not be held in the building for the next several years.

Construction is scheduled to begin around May 15 and finish by December 2001. The noisiest part of construction, however, is scheduled to be completed by fall.

This summer, the loudest work is expected to take place between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m., making afternoon activities difficult for the 15 academic departments housed in Barrows Hall.

"It remains to be seen how disruptive (the construction) will be," said Kathy Sarconi, the political science undergraduate advisor. "It may be impossible to hold conversations in our offices or talk on the phone, so we may not be able to see students in our offices."

Staffers may set up workstations in the basement or take work home and telecommute in the afternoon, Sarconi said.

"Some departments are coming in really early in the morning," she said. "I'm not a morning person, so I hope to take my lunch at 2 o'clock and tough it out the rest of the day."

According to Christine Shaff, communications manager for the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Capital Projects, the first stage of construction will remove some of the existing concrete on the building's exterior. The next stage will add concrete and steel reinforcements to the building.

"It will be a noisy process to take it off," Shaff said. "We are working with acoustic engineers to try and figure out how to have the least impact on neighbors and how it's going to affect the people working inside."

Although faculty and staff members will stay in the building during construction, classes will be moved to several alternative sites on campus.

"The classrooms have all been relocated," Shaff said. "For the next three or four semesters, there won't be any general-assignment classrooms in Barrows."

Shaff said that although some of the noise may continue into the fall, the university is very sensitive to the academic calendar and is attempting to complete initial construction by the beginning of the semester.

If these efforts are successful, classes in neighboring buildings will not be severely disturbed.

The Samuel Silver Space Sciences Laboratory, Barker Hall, Hildebrand Hall and Latimer Hall will also undergo retrofitting this summer as part of a 1998 program called the Seismic Action Plan for Facilities Enhancement and Renewal. The program is expected to take 20 years and cost approximately $1 billion.

The university received approximately $42 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to retrofit unsafe campus buildings.

The state contributed additional funding for construction on the four buildings, not including Barrows Hall - a process expected to cost between $89 and $91 million.

Construction on Barker Hall will start during the summer; all of its occupants have already relocated elsewhere on campus.

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