[ NEWS ]






pacing the void

By Jennifer M. Fitzenberger
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 24, 1997

No relief in sight for construction woes


Nicholas Valenzuela
Arizona Daily Wildcat

The ongoing construction between Old Main and the Economics building has led to a congestion of bicyclists and students trying to get to class. The project began on Dec. 19 and is scheduled to be completed by mid-March.

Now that the road is blocked and the holes have been dug, students and faculty are forced to find alternate routes to work and class between Old Main and the Economics building.

A utility line project, which began Dec. 19 and is scheduled to be completed in mid-March, is being completed in sections. The project snakes through the heart of campus between Yuma Residence Hall and Life Sciences South. It will improve and expand the air conditioning capacity in all university buildings.

The project was divided into sections to ease congestion around campus, said Melissa Dryden, program coordinator for Facilities Design and Construction.

"We just tried to break it (the construction) into small parts that are easy to walk around," she said.

She noted that travel inconveniences will escalate in about three weeks when the project will close the area between Social Sciences and the Forbes Building.

"As we work further south, we will have to work out the detours," she said.

Dryden said bicyclists and pedestrians will have to chose from paths between the Marley and Shantz buildings or between the Forbes and Marvel buildings.

"Pedestrians can also use any area west of the construction area," she said.

To add convenience and ensure the safety of the university, the streets curving around the fountain west of Old Main will not both be blocked at once.

"The north street will be completed before we start on the south one," Dryden said.

Blocking these roads has the potential to be a nuisance if an emergency vehicle must use this route to access the university, she added.

When construction moves to the area between Social Sciences and Forbes Building, detour signs will be posted to direct pedestrians and bicyclists to alternate routes, Dryden said.

Enrique Davis, a second-year international studies student, said he thought alternate route signs should be posted before the southward progression.

"They should at least have access or signs saying where to go," he said.

He also said the noise was disruptive in the classrooms and suggested that workers dig later in the afternoon or at night.

Jeanne Davenport, an administrative secretary who works in the Student Financial Aid Office of Old Main, said the noise was the most inconvenient part of the project.

"The beeping from the trucks backing up starts getting annoying when it happens all day long," she said.

Davenport said the heat in Old Main went out briefly last week, but it was restored within the day. She believed the loss was due to the construction outside of the building.

Although there have been no major delays with the project, Mike Dickerson, a welder with Sun Mechanical Contracting, said there have been a few shortcomings.

"We have had a couple of rain delays," he said Wednesday. "We work through the rain, but we don't get as much done."

Dickerson said the construction goes slower when it has to be curved around buildings.

"It goes much more quickly when we work in a straight line," he said. "People also cause a lot of delays because we have to be careful when working around the kids."

Dryden said the workers are being careful not to disturb the historic olive trees on campus.

"Protecting the olive trees in the first phase took longer, but it was worth the effort," she said.

Dickerson said that curious students wandering past the protective fencing around the construction area have also become a problem. He said this jeopardizes students' safety.

"They ask us what we are doing, and why they can't go through the area." he said. "It is tough for the people who run the equipment to see them."