The Campus Chronicle
Vol. XVIII, Issue 19
for the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts
January 31, 2003

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'Classroom Blitz' cleans up, refurbishes classrooms, halls in 6 buildings

by Sarah Buchholz, Chronicle staff

Bob Morton of Capital Carpet and Flooring Specialists in Woburn applies finishing touches to new carpeting in the Isenberg School of Management. (Stan Sherer photo)

Bob Morton of Capital Carpet and Flooring Specialists in Woburn applies finishing touches to new carpeting in the Isenberg School of Management. (Stan Sherer photo)

I n contrast with the summer's highly visible construction boom that tore up sidewalks, filled the air with the beeping of trucks in reverse, and saw walls and framing rise into the campus skyline, a quiet revolution took place in six classroom buildings over the winter break.

     Between the end of finals and Jan. 26, the "Classroom Blitz" saw Engineering and Flint labs, Chenoweth and French halls, New Africa House and the School of Management receive facelifts: new, larger seats for students; new teaching stations, light switches and electrical outlet plates; fresh paint on ceilings, walls and doors and polish on tile floors; deep cleaning; and new blinds, chalkboards, flooring, lighting and projector screens, where needed. The Blitz combined the efforts of Physical Plant's Building Maintenance, Custodial Services, and Grounds Management departments, as well as that of outside contractors, who were brought in because of the tight schedule.

     $450,000 later, 42 classrooms and the entry- and hallways in the six buildings were made over. Three of the rooms got new floors, while others received patching in worn areas. And 1,750 new seats were installed.

      "If somebody saw these rooms before we started and now, they wouldn't believe it," said Howard Cleveland, central shops manager in Physical Plant, who helped to pull the project together. "Of course the south end of the School of Management is new. Now if you walk into the north end of the SOM, you can barely tell the difference between the two."

     "It's going to make a huge difference," said Joyce Hatch, interim vice chancellor for Administration and Finance, adding that the difference between "before" and "after" in the spaces is dramatic. Hatch noted that the blitz does not replace the annual effort by the Alterations Department, which involves more extensive renovation of classroom space in which rooms are gutted and rebuilt, and is being planned for the summer.

      The project was made possible by savings from the campus's utility budget and other balances from the end of last year, Hatch said.

     Both Cleveland and Pat Daly, interim director of Physical Plant, had high praise for the staff involved in the blitz.

     Daly said staff in Custodial Services were so enthusiastic about the project, they got ahead of schedule.

      "Everybody was a help," Cleveland said. "There wasn't one human hurdle."
Because funding for the blitz wasn't secured until early November, the planning schedule was tight Cleveland said.

     "Everything had to be very closely spaced in order to be on-line when the students got back again," he said. "It was an awful lot of work in just over a month. Plus we had the holidays in there.

     "[Retired maintenance foreman] Denny Rivard came back as an 03 to help. He and [elevator repairman] Kevin Ryan project managed this job once it was in the field. Everybody put their best foot forward."

 
    
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