$19.2m in campus improvements on summer schedule

By Daniel J. Fitzgibbons

No major new construction is underway on campus this summer, but more than 30 smaller projects worth $19.2 million are already started or planned, according to Jim Cahill, director of Facilities Planning.

“It’s a bit of a lull compared to other summers,” said Cahill. “The campus is still suffering from budget cuts that caused a lot of customer-funded work to dry up. Money’s tight and people don’t want to spend it.”

Most of the renovation and repair work is being financed through the campus’s general operating funds or revenue accounts. The notable exceptions are the $2.3 million project to install new fire alarm systems in Morrill Science Center, Goessmann Laboratory and Goessmann Annex, and the Du Bois Library deck replacement at $5.8 million. Those improvements are being paid for with state general obligation bonds.

Along with the fire alarm project, Morrill Science Center is slated for several other projects that are making the building a veritable beehive of summer construction. The largest project, which began in January and is scheduled for completion in December, is a $5 million renovation of about 9,000 square feet on the fourth floor of Morrill Science Center IV to house a genomic research laboratory directed by Derek Lovley, head of the Microbiology Department.

Meanwhile, Morrill’s power distribution system is being upgraded at a cost of $900,000 to support future renovations in the building. One of the planned projects involves the conversion of a Biology teaching lab on the third floor into a research facility. The initial cost of developing plans and managing the project is $490,000.

The Du Bois Library will see its share of renovations, funded by the state. The deteriorating deck is being removed and a new surface with a waterproof membrane is being installed. The summer project will set the stage for later repairs on the main floor of the building, said Cahill. “Once we get the deck resolved, we’ll able to fix related problems inside the building once and for all.”

To the south of the Library, work is underway to replace heating pipes in the Fine Arts Center. Many of the pipes are failing and some have caused damage in Bezanson Recital Hall. Replacing the pipes is estimated to cost $490,000.

At the Isenberg School of Management, work is underway to renovate space on the second floor to accommodate the Sport Management Department, which is vacating Skinner Hall, which will eventually be renovated to house the School of Nursing. The Isenberg project, scheduled for completion this month, carries a $1.5 million price tag.

The final phase work on the Engineering Lab II, funded by the state, is scheduled for occupancy by September. Before the building can open, labs must be custom fit to accommodate the needs of individual researchers, said Cahill. “We have people on staff who are very knowledgeable about lab fit-out.”

Classrooms in Stockbridge, Marcus, Tobin and Lederle Graduate Research Center are slated for overhauls and new furniture. In addition, a classroom in Tobin and another in Stockbridge will be outfitted with high tech presentation equipment as part of a technology pilot program. The classroom renovations will cost about $350,000.

Another $65,500 will be used to replace the ceiling and lights, upgrade wiring, and repair walls and flooring in a computer lab in Marcus Hall.

The conference room in the Robsham Visitors Center will be subdivided into new offices and the building’s carpeting, walls and ceiling are slated for improvements.

Other buildings scheduled for improvements or alterations include Goodell, where offices are being readied for the Career Center, which is relocating from its offices in the former Admissions Center on Butterfield Terrace. That building is scheduled to house the Office of Research, Grant and Contract Administration, Animal Care and Industrial Liaison and Economic Development, all currently located in Goodell. The Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium, now in the Career Center, is moving to 505 East Pleasant St., a house just vacated by the UMass Press. Work at all three sites is estimated at $238,000.

Another $500,000 is supporting a code-mandated replacement of hydraulic cylinders in elevators Chenoweth, Cold Storage, Fine Arts Center, Holdsworth, Morrill Science Center III, Physical Plant, Lincoln Campus Center, Health Services and the four dining commons.

In Whitmore, $120,000 is being used to install an uninterruptible power supply in room 133.

At Franklin Dining Commons, a new $503,000, single-ply membrane roof is being installed.

New ventilation systems are being put in at the Campus Center garage and loading dock. Those improvements are costing $750,000. Another parking area, Lot 11 near McGuirk Alumni Stadium, will be expanded to provide another 160 new spaces.

Facilities Planning is handling several projects for Housing Services, said Cahill. The largest include a $700,000 modernization of the elevators in John Quincy Adams Tower in Southwest. The work involves the installation of new microprocessor controllers, motors, cables, car doors and other equipment.

Another $810,000 is being spent on new fire alarms, emergency lighting systems and an emergency power generator for Crampton House in Southwest. Crampton is also slated to receive a pair of 25,000-BTU air conditioners at a cost of $7,850.

Mackimmie House in Southwest and Webster House in Orchard Hill are receiving new roofs at a total cost of $707,000.

Nearly two dozen lounges in Brett House in Central and Field and Grayson houses in Orchard Hill are scheduled to receive new carpeting and fire-rated doors and partitions. The contract is worth $797,000.