ILC excavation is nearing completion
Members of the UA faculty, staff and local media delved into the depths of the university's own grand canyon Friday, and viewed the ILC construction site at its lowest point.
University of Arizona officials gave a tour of the pit shortly after the two months of night excavation was finished. The surface of the Integrated Learning Center, nearly 30 feet below ground level, was peppered with about 50 people exploring the vast, excavated area.
Some in attendance said they did not realize the immensity of the project until they were deep within its heart.
Mary Feeney, an assistant librarian at the University of Arizona Main Library, was impressed with the magnitude of the project, especially when she saw its proximity to her office.
"I didn't realize how close it (excavation) was to our offices on the first floor," she said. "I'm curious to see how it's going to effect our stability."
Lynne Tronsdal, vice president of Undergraduate Administration, helped educate onlookers at the event.
"They are supposed to start (concrete poring) next week, but they may not. They still need to put up shoring around the area so that the walls do not fall," she said.
Melissa Dryden, program coordinator from UA Facilities Design and Construction, said the next step in the construction is to lay the concrete structure, which will not result in any more transportation changes for students.
"We think that the pouring will take about eight months," she said. "There should not be any additional changes in the transportation routes."
Hydro-Metrics, the company who has been handling the excavation project for the past three months, will conclude their portion of the project later this week.
Bill Glass, assistant project manager from Hydro-Metrics, said there are a few things left before concrete will be poured.
"They're still not done yet," he said. "We still need to trim that back that (north wall) and clear out the stairwell area."
He added that workers will begin laying concrete in two or three weeks.
Frank Black, a Hydro-Metrics construction worker, said that the next part of the ILC project should go over very well.
"I think all together there will be no problems at all," he said. "They'll be pouring concrete for the floors, walls on all sides, the walkways, and many other parts of the building."
Although the excavation caused noise problems on campus, some said the experience has been unique and unexpected.
"It's certainly strange to look out your window and see a giant earth mover pushing the soil around," said assistant librarian Tom Marshal. "It's just a little noisier, but we have all gotten used to it. It has decreased traffic around the area."
Dick Roberts, director of the UA Budget Office, also pointed where some of the future structures will be built and how students will be affected.
"You can begin to get a sense of where the entrance is (in front of Modern Languages)," he said. "You'll also be able to enter the library at the grade level without ever going outside."
Roberts said that while all students will benefit from the ILC upon completion, freshman students will see the most changes.
"During your freshman year, you're likely to have at least two classes in the building," he said. "It'll be open all the time. There will be 400 computers, and an extra 150 terminals for students who have laptops."