AU uses summer to renovate
The summer season brings warmer climates to the D.C. area, making construction projects easier to complete, and AU has not ignored this advantage as areas of campus are getting spruced up while the weather is nice and many students are away.
The projects range from the renovation of Letts Hall to a new and improved Tavern. In addition, there are a few behind the scenes projects that are working to improve the quality of life at the University.
ROPER AND GRAY HALLS
Roper and Gray have been undergoing "cosmetic upgrades" over the past two months according to Jerry Gager of the Office of Facilities, Planning and Development. Each building is being equipped with thermally efficient windows, new carpet, paint, replaced ceiling tiles and miscellaneous temporary partitions, Gager said.
"We're creating faculty offices, departmental space and limited instructional space," Gager said. "Mostly we are reenergizing the buildings."
Once work is completed in August, the University will move ahead with renovations of Clark Hall and eventually McCabe Hall. The economics department, currently housed in McCabe, will return to Roper at that time. Gray will hold the mathematics and statistics departments, presently in Clark, as well as most of the School of Education from the McKinley building, according to Gager.
This all leads to the eventual transformation of McCabe into the new University Health Center, moving in from Nebraska Hall, Gager said.
"[McCabe will be] almost a model facility for a university health center," Gager said. "We are working with campus life to understand what that means and what the best facility will be for that function."
THE LETTS-ANDERSON QUAD
Crews are now working to replace the steam line that runs underneath the LA Quad and into Anderson Hall, Lynn Sealy, also of the Office of Facilities, Planning and Development, said.
"We have replaced manholes, vaults (the edging around the manholes) and we are replacing the steam lines," Sealy said. "It will be completed by the end of July."
REEVES AQUATIC CENTER
After the Reeves pool closed its doors June 26, a crew began to drain the pool as part of the Natatorium Re-Engineering Project, Sealy said.
Sealy reports they are installing acoustical drapes in order to dull the sound in the pool area and they are also relocating some lighting. To do this the crew has installed extensive scaffolding throughout the entire pool and surrounding floor space.
The pool is also having work done in the mechanical room where a new filtering system is being installed in order to control the level of chemicals in the pool, Sealy said. The entire project is due for completion in mid-August.
"We will need to take the scaffolding down and refill the pool," Sealy said. "The pool needs to reopen at the beginning of the school year."
Gager reports that Cingular Wireless in continuing their equipment installation with placement of machinery in the Media Production Center.
"What we're doing is renovating the old student radio station space and the transmitter part of the building for that equipment," Gager said. "It's the same technology that's now in place [across campus]."
The Army Corps of Engineers reported that the cleanup of the intramural field is continuing steadily despite the rain over the past few months. The Corps'pondent, a newsletter distributed to Spring Valley residents on the clean-up operation, states that 15 chemical munitions were successfully destructed June 10.
Ongoing searches for the chemical weapons created on the AU campus during World War I have been slowed by the weather but are still progressing, the newsletter said.
"Backfilling and restoration operations at the American University intramural fields and the grounds around the university's Child Development Center have been temporarily delayed due to the wet soil conditions," the Corps reported. "This work is likely to resume soon. All anomalies contaminated soil have been removed from these areas."
The Corps will be making a full project update to the Spring Valley community Aug. 5 in a presentation at the Sibley Hospital Auditorium from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
The assembled projects are key components of the University's 10-year Campus Plan created by President Benjamin Ladner in 2000. The campus plan hopes to amplify AU's goal of becoming a "global university" through better facilities for a better education.