University awaits end of campus construction

By Ben Hellwege

In the past few weeks, many parts of the University have been bulldozed, while other buildings remain buried in scaffolding. This is a sign that campus construction and remodeling is now in full swing, in keeping with the campus Master Plan. For the next three or four years, the campus will be transformed as the physical plant of the University is updated and expanded.

Chief among these improvements for students in the College is the completion of Max Palevsky Commons and the opening of the rechristened Bartlett Commons. Currently, only one of three Max Palevsky buildings is open, despite continued construction on the remaining two.

However, residents of Woodward Court should not get too comfortable in their surroundings, as they are scheduled to move into the remaining two Palevsky buildings before the end of the academic year. “The final two buildings of the Max Palevsky Residential Commons are on schedule and will be completed in time for occupancy in January 2002,” said Curt Heuring, University architect. “Palevsky Central is moderately ahead of Palevsky West, but both will be ready when needed by Residence Halls and Commons.”

The new Palevsky dorms will not immediately have the ivy adornment or green quads that the central campus possesses. “The landscape work around these buildings cannot be installed until the early spring because the weather is too cold,” Heuring said. “This portion of the project will be completed as soon as the weather permits and certainly by April 2002.”

And as for the long-suffering residents of outlying dorms who have to trek to Burton-Judson, Pierce or Woodward for food, permanent relief is in sight. “Bartlett Commons is on schedule to be completed in December and ready for use in January 2002,” Heuring said. “There will not be a delay in the opening of Bartlett Commons.”

However, some of the other features of Bartlett Commons will not be ready when the dining hall section opens in January. “Several recently initiated projects on the main floor of Bartlett Hall, including the multi-purpose dance space, student lounge, and campus market have not yet begun construction and will lag the completion of the main project by several months,” Heuring said. “This will not impact the main facility, however.”

The University is also continuing its efforts to beautify the main quads, particularly the entrance near the Seminary Co-op. “Facilities Services is implementing a couple of projects on this site. The first is repair and expansion of the steam tunnel and steam lines that run along the eastern edge of the quad,” Heuring said. “This work is necessary to fix some problems and expand capacity in this line to serve the north campus.”

According to Heuring, a second project is also underway near the entrance to the quads. “Currently, there is construction of a new main quadrangle entryway. The design for the entry includes new walkways, light fixtures, perennial gardens, low shrubbery, ornamental flowering trees and large trees selected for their shape and canopy,” Heuring said.

“These elements will be installed soon, and the entire entryway should be complete in the spring of 2002.”

However, students should not start looking for another Cobb gate anytime soon. “A new ‘gate’ in the traditional sense is not being installed,” Heuring said. “Instead, a softer, more permeable landscaped entryway is being created.”

And although the University is not going to make the winter walk to classes any warmer, it is working to make parts of campus more comfortable when summer descends on Chicago.

“There are repairs being made to the extensive steam tunnel system, and there is a chiller line being installed between Regenstein Library and the north quad,” Heuring said.

“The chiller line carries chilled water, which will be used to air condition some of the space in Culver, Zoology, and Anatomy labs. No new tunnels are being built as part of this project.”