Campus construction continues on schedule through winter break despite cold
Construction on the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus is well on its way to completion, according to an IUP Facilities Engineering and Construction Group official.
While IUP students took time off school, contractors worked underground putting in utilities and foundations for the new Humanities and Social Sciences building and the Crimson Cafe, Raymond Wygonik, IUP’s FECG director, said in a Jan. 15 interview.
“Most of [the workers] only took off for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day,” Wygonik said. “Even on the cold days, there were people working.”
The new humanities building will be located on the lawn between Sutton and Clark halls, next to the Stapleton Library.
The $30 million academic building will house seven departments of IUP’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, including the journalism, English, political science, philosophy, history, geography and regional planning, and religious studies departments.
The Crimson Cafe, phase one of IUP Dining Innovations, is estimated to be completed by July. The $6.5 million dining facility will be located next to the Stapleton/Stabley Library and the Performing Arts Center.
“Things are continuing to move on schedule,” Michelle Fryling, IUP Media Relations director, said in a Jan. 15 interview.
Fryling said the construction during the winter break was “smooth” in terms of “physical plant work.”
“We always have to be concerned about pipes breaking because we’ve had dreadfully cold temperatures here, but we’ve had no significant problems,” Fryling said.
Construction progress of the new humanities building can be viewed at the IUP website via a web camera that updates every few minutes, according to Wygonik.
A webcam was used to view construction progress of past student housing projects, Wygonik said, and he said people seemed to like it.
“Because this is a big project and an important project for campus right in the middle of campus,” Wygonik said of the new humanities building, “we thought we’d do the same thing. It would let people log on and see what is happening any given day out there.”
The campus detours around the construction that were announced last semester will continue this semester.
Fences surround the Crimson Cafe construction behind the Stapleton/Stabley Library and in front of Clark Hall.
Fencing for the new Humanities building limits Sutton Hall access to two entrances: through the Oak Grove and East Porch entr-ances, according to the FECG. South Drive from 11th Street to the Sutton Circle and a portion of the Clark Hall parking lot are also closed due to construction.
Grant Street, extending from Delaney Hall to the corner just before Foster Dining is closed. However, students may walk through the residence hall courtyard surrounded by Delaney, Putt and Ruddock halls and the Suites on Maple East as an alternate route to get to classes.
Wygonik said no detours will be altered or eliminated for each project until it is complete.
He also said he knows that the detours are “inconvenient,” but they are also necessary.
“When you build a five-story building in the very center of the campus, we know that it creates inconvenience for people,” Wygonik said. “We’ve tried to put up signs and advertise the best we can, but there is really no way around it.”
Fryling said the traffic patterns have been disruptive, but “no one has been ugly about having to walk farther.”
“I think that is because they are so excited about this project,” she said. “When you think about it, we haven’t had a new academic building for more than a decade.”
While the Cafe and the humanities building are in progress, new projects are already set to begin.
The Folger Food Court located in Folger Hall will undergo renovations beginning in August, Wygonik said. Renovations are estimated to be complete by August 2015.
The renovation is phase two of a $37 million dining master plan. The FECG calls the renovation the “Folger Transformation.”
The food court in Folger Hall will be replaced by one located in the Crimson Cafe. Wygonik said the renovated Folger Food Court will be transformed into an “all-you-can-eat” dining hall similar to Foster Dining Hall, located at Grant and 11th streets.
The renovation is being funded with student dining fees, according to Wygonik, by IUP’s Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining.
Renovations required for Foster Dining Hall would be “so extensive,” according to the FECG, that it would not be “cost effective” to continue operations there. Therefore, the demolition of Foster Hall is being tentatively scheduled for 2016.
Fryling said that campus construction never ends.
“It can’t,” she said. “We have to maintain the needs of the campus to do things to keep our facilities relevant to our students. It’s a competitive world out there, and we need to make sure we have the best physical plan possible to get the best teaching and learning and to attract the best students and faculty.
“It makes a great deal of difference.”