Students return to more campus changes; east union excavation close to completion
Coming back from winter break, UA students have seen a hole where the Gallagher Theatre used to be - but that's just the beginning of construction changes for the coming year.
About 95 percent of the excavation and demolition of the east wing for the basement of phase one has been completed, said Doug Huie, Swinerton & Walberg senior project manager.
"We are more or less on time," Huie said.
This week, construction workers will begin stabilizing the banks of dirt, said Gilbert Davidson, the University of Arizona's assistant project manager for student union construction.
The banks of the dirt need to be stabilized before construction workers can begin putting in the footing of the new student union building, he said.
To stabilize the dirt banks, steel bars are put in and then concrete is laid over them, he added.
"This will be exciting for students because they will actually see something being built," Davidson said.
The steel frame of the building will be put in during February or March, Huie said.
Students will also see some preliminary changes near the bookstore. Six drill shafts will be installed and filled with concrete near the loading docks behind the bookstore, he added.
"It's going real well," Huie said.
Students may also have to face some traffic problems due to deliveries.
"I don't see any problems other than deliveries which might affect traffic," Huie said.
During the winter break, construction officials also installed a traffic light on North Mountain Avenue and East Second Street that became active last week, Huie said.
Davidson said the light will replace the police officers who had controlled the traffic at the intersection.
"We put it in for student and faculty safety," Davidson said.
Workers also put in a new sidewalk on the Mall outside the Memorial Student Union. It was created for wheel chair access, Huie said.
The east wing excavation required demolishing the old sidewalk and creating a temporary walkway, Huie said.
But he added that after finishing construction, the Mall will be restored to its previous state.