Year’s busiest work period underway for construction crews renovating campus

Construction crews are at their busiest period of the year on campus, working on 34 separate projects across the University’s grounds.

Some of these construction projects involve putting the finishing touches on longer standing efforts, like the $60 million renovation of Lincoln Hall.

The restoration that began in 2009 with millions of dollars of renovation funds coming from the state is coming to a close, as faculty and staff from the College of LAS have started settling into the renovated building. The move-in started May 14, and staff are currently making the preparations to ensure that the hall is ready for students in the fall as construction crews finish up the first-floor classrooms.

LAS Associate Dean for Administration Matthew Tomaszewski said that the dean’s office is already fully moved in, and other departments, like Sociology and the college’s student office, will be getting settled throughout the summer.

“It’s been a long process, but it’s been a good one. … The improvements are fantastic,” Tomaszewski said. “The classrooms are brought up to the standard you’d expect for construction in the 21st century.”

The renovation includes new electronics as part of “smart” technology in the refurbished classrooms, as well as mechanical and electrical upgrades to air conditioning and plumbing. Tomaszewski said that pending improvements to the building will also include a cafe on Lincoln Hall’s lower floor.

Still absent from the main entrance of the hall is the eponymous bust of Abraham Lincoln. There is an empty alcove awaiting the recently refurbished bronze sculpture of the former president that is currently housed at the Spurlock Museum.

“It’s a fabulous clean space. Despite the dust, it feels much better,” said Julie Woolsey, assistant to the head of Sociology, while moving into the new office space on the building’s third floor. “It’s coming together.”

And while some buildings are opening up for use in the fall, a few are coming down. Another piece of the Six Pack — Garner Hall — is set to be demolished later this month to make way for the new look of the Stanley O. Ikenberry Commons dormitories. Forbes Hall will be demolished next summer.

University Facilities and Services spokesman Andy Blacker said the first phase of that project, manifest in Nugent Residence Hall, was completed in April, and the second of three residence halls should be completed next May. The final building will enter the designing stage this fall. For that phase, the University board of trustees recently signed on Turner Construction Company at their May 31 meeting to finish the $80 million project.