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Monday, August 06, 2012

Summer Construction on College Campuses

Summer is construction season on college campuses.  As soon as trunks are packed and farewells are said, the barricades go up and campuses become hives of a whole different kind of activity.  If you've done a lot of touring this summer, you've probably seen at least a few detours signs during your travels.

The summer construction season has been busier than usual this year at UVa.  Many projects have been completed (the new track facility is open!) and many will wrap up in time for move in.  A few will continue through the first semester and some, like the renovation of the Alderman Road residence halls, will continue for a while. 


The student union, Newcomb Hall, is going through a huge renovation just next door to our home in Peabody Hall.  The project is supposed to be complete in November.  Because that work has taken one of the larger "all you can eat" dining halls offline, a temporary dining facility is being built on the other side of Peabody Hall.  The temporary facility will accommodate 500 people for meals and have kitchens, air conditioning, and bathrooms.

When word of the plan first came my way, I imagined a huge event tent like the ones that go up on the Peabody Hall lawn for reunions.  I pictured plastic walls and big fans cooling the space.  I couldn't see it being the most practical way to feed a lot of people, but figured the project managers knew what they were doing.  As the temporary facility started to go up, it became clear that it was going to be way more than a tent.


One Sunday, I came into the office and found a crane putting three trailers into place.  There were kitchens inside them that looked like they belonged in a restaurant.  This temporary dining hall was clearly going to be much more than a tent!



Today, the full size of the building is clear.  Notice that I'm not calling it a tent anymore?



The view from my window has changed quite a bit!  Here was the view from my office last Sunday:



Here's the view from my office today:



While I miss the Calder statue that used to be in front of our building, watching this project unfold has been fascinating.

If you're curious about other projects going on around Grounds, check out the Featured Projects page that the Facilities & Planning folks have put together.  Most projects have monthly photo galleries where you can see how each projects has changed over time.