Main quad will be excavated during summer

By Margaret Ryznar

The U of C will undergo a $3.9 million construction project this summer that will involve digging up the main campus quads. The undertaking will cause much dust and inconvenience for those staying on campus during summer quarter.

The project has been designed to fix three separate problems that have been surfacing recently in the University. Although each issue is different, they all require the excavation of the quads to be rectified. The University has consequently combined them into one project in order to limit the number of times the quads need to be excavated.

?This will minimize inconvenience to the campus, as well as be more efficient and cost-effective,? said Meredith Mack, associate vice president for facilities services. ?We will have savings from only mobilizing for construction once, and only having to restore the landscape once. So, while this project will be inconvenient, noisy and dusty this summer, it will only be for one summer.?

The first aim of the construction is to install a steam line that will bring service to the Interdivisional Research Building (digging trenches east of the Administration Building and Jones Laboratory); the second is to repair several areas of existing utility tunnels west of Haskell Hall. The final and most extensive goal of the project is to instate chiller lines from the south end to the north end of the quads.

Currently, there is no unified chiller line, making the air-conditioning of the buildings on the main quads between Swift and Rosenwald expensive and inefficient. There are 13 separate chillers serving the Administration Building alone.

?By centralizing the production of chilled water, we will make it more reliable, less expensive, and save energy,? Mack said.

This summer?s construction is the second stage of the project to make air conditioning of the main quad buildings more efficient.

?This is phase two of a longer range plan to make chilling on campus more centralized. While the chiller itself is not built yet, these lines will give us the ability to bring chilled water to the quads,? Mack said.

The University already constructed one chilling node in the basement of the Regenstein to allow for air-conditioning in the north end of campus. The result will include improved air-conditioning service for buildings such as the Max Palevsky Residential Commons, Bartlett Dinning Commons, the Ratner Athletic Center, the Smart Museum, and the Cochrane Woods Art Center.

Nexus Technical Services did the engineering design for the upcoming project but the construction will be done by Berglund Construction.

According to Mack, there will be many inconveniences to those on campus during the summer term.

?We will maintain most pedestrian pathways, but vehicles will be restricted to emergency vehicles,? Mack said. ?Most of the digging will be underneath the roadways, although some will be under the lawn.?

During the summer months, students should not schedule events in the quads, Mack said. She encourages the campus community to schedule classes and meetings in areas least affected by the construction noise, adding that delivery vehicles will not have the usual access to the quads and that visitors should be directed to entrances on the outer edges of the campus.

?The parking will be atrocious once construction starts. People will need to use the pay lots,? said Alan Krok, a member of the University police force.

Construction will start immediately after Spring Convocation. The University intends for the project to be completed and the roadways and landscape restored by mid-September.