To the surprise of many students, parts of the Ag Quad have turned into a construction site over the last couple weeks. Few, however, seem to know much about the Mann Library renovation project that has affected their daily routines.
“I have no idea what it’s for,” said Lauren Zakarin ’06, a response echoed by several other students.
It’s hard to miss the construction on the Quad. Fences surround the area between Warren Hall and the Plant Science Building, as well as the slope between the latter and Kennedy Hall. The construction has closed the passage through the old Mann Library building and the fences block off several sidewalks, forcing students to find new routes to their classes.
“It takes up so much of the Quad,” observed Amy Rappaport ’06.
The major east-west sidewalk on the southern end of the Quad remains open, as does the tunnel leading to the Mann Library addition and Emerson Hall.
“We’re trying to minimize the impact of the staging area on the rest of the quad,” said Peter Schrempf, program manager for the Mann Library renovation. He explained that construction companies, “basically use that for getting to and from the site, and for larger item material storage, a holding area.”
The company in charge of the renovation, Pike Construction Co. of Rochester, lined the ground with plastic and put down a layer of gravel to create a staging area for the project, similar to the site created near the Johnson Museum of Art by construction crews during last year’s White Hall renovation. The Ag Quad staging area required the removal of two trees: a hemlock on the slope by Plant Science and an oak in front of Mann.
“[The oak] is scheduled to be replaced,” Schrempf said, adding that the tree had been sickly. The Ag College will have a say in the replanting of both trees.
Schrempf also explained that Pike Construction will restore the lawns and sidewalks after the renovation work is completed in approximately 2006.
During the period of construction, however, the project coordinators have taken into account the impact the renovation work will have on students.
“We cannot guarantee that there won’t be some disturbance. It’s hard to coordinate around all classes, labs and library hours. We tried our best,” said Jim Kazda, associate director in the contract colleges facilities office, which oversees buildings and other facilities for the land grant colleges.
However, Kazda added that students won’t even see most of the work going on.
“For the most part, construction activities will be contained within the buildings,” he said.
What students will see is the construction equipment and material being moved to and from the site.
“There will be a lot of hustle and bustle,” Kazda said, “also, probably more noise than usual.”
“Once it’s all established, there should be very little impact on the day-to-day life of people,” Schrempf said, referring to when the creation of the staging area would be completed. He also explained some of the effort put into minimizing the impact.
“We’ve given the contractors a schedule of class breaks and they’re supposed to avoid that time,” he said, “We’ve [also] given the contractors the academic calendar and warned them about study weeks and exam weeks. Once it gets established, it’ll be pretty stable and then just the level of activity coming and going will vary over time.”
Schrempf explained that the east-west sidewalk leading to the Mann tunnel might occasional be blocked by moving construction vehicles, but otherwise students won’t see any further changes to the Quad itself.
Construction causes the most disturbances when there is excavation or back-filling occurring, neither of which will be occurring at Mann, according to Schrempf. The first couple months of the project will feature “selective demolition” of part of the old library before the actual renovation occurs.
The renovation will include the installation of full climate control to fix the heating problems of the old building and better preserve older records. The new Mann Library will also feature a giant atrium, additional stack space and its own caf