Aug 212006
 
Authors: Cari Merrill The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Although the Lory Student Center Plaza is currently in disarray, come October, students will be greeted with a more “pedestrian-friendly” Plaza.

With completion of the first phase of construction expected by Halloween, the Plaza will transform from a 40-year-old walkway with cracked concrete to a safer, friendlier center of campus, said Fred Haberecht, a landscape architect for the university.

Signs attached to the chain-link fence surrounding the construction boast of a site that will feature more lights for safer nighttime pedestrian traffic, wider walking paths and more grass for students to relax between classes.

Even though phase one has a scheduled completion date, there is no estimate of when future phases – which include a water feature and a Student Square where University Avenue enters the Plaza – will be done.

“Future phases are funding-dependent,” Haberecht said Monday afternoon on the Plaza while checking on progress of the construction. “Hopefully, it keeps rolling.”

Haberecht stressed funding for projects like the Plaza construction does not come from student fees, tuition or Referendum C money.

While students only have to deal with Plaza construction temporarily, that is enough to put a crimp in some students’ daily schedules.

Sara Gabbert, a freshman open-option major, had mapped out walking paths to her classes in the Eddy building and the Engineering building, a path that ultimately took her through the Plaza.

“The construction makes it a pain to find my classes,” said Gabbert, who spent time Sunday making a new walking path to her classes. “It makes it a lot more confusing.”

But some people feel the project, estimated to cost about $450,000 when complete, is worth the current inconveniences.

“The construction last year (of the new transit center) was a pain,” said David Groth, a senior economics major. “But now that I see what’s happening, it’s cool. It’s a little bit of a hassle but it’s worth it.”

In addition to the Plaza revamp, the Morgan Library is receiving its own overhaul.

Two weekends ago, the 40-year-old tar and gravel roof was ripped off and replaced with a new rubber roof, which will make it easier to detect leaks, said Jon Feiman, project manager for the roof replacement. The new roof will also feature a white acrylic coating that will reflect heat in an effort to save energy.

The big sheets of rubber have been installed, leaving only some detail work to be done. Students can expect to hear some drilling noise and see portions of sidewalks cornered off with “Caution” tape while workers trim the extra rubber and finish detailing.

“The contractor didn’t realize how big of a job it was,” Feiman said of the $810,000 job.

Development Editor Cari Merrill can be reached at development@collegian.com.

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