• This is St. Thomas’ busiest renovation-construction summer ever

    Not every construction project at the University of St. Thomas this summer will draw as much attention as the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex on the University of St. Thomas’ north campus, but there is plenty happening.

    In fact, 2010 will mark the university’s busiest construction and renovation schedule ever, with most projects already started, according to Gerald Anderley, associate vice president of facilities.

    With Opening Doors capital campaign projects under way, including the Anderson Student Center (to open January 2012) and the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex (to open this fall), this year’s construction expenditures will reach roughly $60 million, the most the university has spent on construction in one year.

    All the projects, with the exception of the reconstruction of the Winton guest house on the grounds of the Gainey Conference Center in Owatonna, began May 24 and will be completed no later than Sept. 1. Reconstruction of the guest house will begin as soon as Steele County permits are granted.

    Two residences halls – Dowling and Brady – will be closed all summer for more extensive maintenance projects and will reopen in late August.

    Other projects include:

    • Renovation of the McCarthy Gym, which will include an all-purpose gymnasium to replace the existing swimming pool, exercise rooms, a crew room and equitable locker and shower facilities for men and women.
    • Renovation of the John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts’ greenhouse, which has gone unused for 13 years. The  renovation will give the Biology Department two botany teaching labs and two additional faculty offices.
    • Modernization retrofits of the elevator systems in Aquinas Hall, O’Shaughnessy Education Center, Dowling Hall and the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center.
    • Removal and replacement of the third- and fourth-floor exterior of Brady Hall.
    • Replacement of the original air handler units and controls for the heating and cooling systems in the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center.
    • Replacement of the original, exterior stair entrances to Cretin, Loras and Grace halls.
    • Installation of a cell phone signal booster for the MBA student commons, lower level, Terrence Murphy Hall, Minneapolis campus.
    • In O’Shaughnessy Science Hall, conversion of Room 435 from a reading room to a chemistry seminar room, and installation of a separate cooling system for Room 409, a computing center.
    • In Owens Science Hall, conversion of Room 51 into a geology lab, and conversion of Room 484 from a chemistry seminar room to a chemistry research lab.
    • Replacement of the boiler burner in Owens Science Hall. Anderley said this will be one of this summer’s major projects.
    •  Conversion of Room 449 in O’Shaughnessy Education Center to a computer classroom.
    • Replacement of all windows on Bernardi campus in Rome.
    • Insulation and replacement of a new roof on the south campus Service Center.
    • Rebuilding the chillers for the air conditioning systems in Murray-Herrick Campus Center and Morrison Hall, which also will have the carpeting on its second and third floors reconditioned.
    • Seal leaks in tunnels of Selby and Morrison parking ramps.
    • Caulk and tuckpoint capstones on Terrence Murphy Hall in Minneapolis.
    • Replacement of the boiler that serves all of south campus’ hot water systems.
    • The monumental sculpture between Owens Science Hall and O’Shaughnessy Science Hall, titled “Plunge,” by local sculptor, Janet Lofquist, has suffered deterioration due to rusting from the inside out. The Art History Department is overseeing the reconstructive work using funds from the Exhibitions and Collections program and from donations to the department by friends of the arts at UST. The sculpture’s extensive facelift will include protecting the granite below the sculpture, analyzing the paint for toxic substances, such as lead (happily, it was non-toxic), sand-blasting the surface down to the metal (which explains the protective tent around the sculpture last week), repairing the holes, and then rebonding, priming, top-coating and sealing the work.  The work began last week and will be completed on or before June 30.

    In addition to the new projects and renovations, general maintenance work will be done over the summer. Some of those projects include painting and reconditioning student residence rooms – more than 1,000 total – in all 13 residence halls on campus. Anderley said there is “more opportunity to do more this summer due to [the temporary residence hall] closures.”

    Dowling, along with Ireland Hall, will have its hot-water storage tanks and pumps replaced. Dowling also will have its hot-water distribution system on its lower level replaced.

    Anderley said yearly upkeep of the exteriors and interiors of campus buildings costs between $2.5 and $3 million per year. An example is the $100,000 St. Thomas spends annually to replace sidewalks on the perimeter of its St. Paul campus.

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