Completion of Warner Hall construction postponed

Construction work in Warner Hall, originally slated for completion in late July, will not end for several more weeks due to additional jobs added to the original project.

University FMS worker Edward Hydzik, the Warner Hall project manager, said he had ?no exact date? for completion of work, but predicted that everything would be done by early November.
The initial project, completing asbestos abatement for the entirety of Warner Hall, was to end before classes began, but officials had to prolong the project to bring the building up to newer codes and to account for delay in ordering special materials, such as fire-resistant glass and frames.

The new portion of the work involves changing the layout of the first floor and adding new entrance vestibules on the front and back of the building to replace the old, narrow entry vestibules. As part of fire code renovations, a new emergency exit will be added.

?We?re replacing existing conference rooms and creating new conference rooms,? Hydzik said. The office of admission will be the primary occupant and user of the first floor after construction finishes. ?Everyone else is moved back in,? said Hydzik.

?It started out because there were concerns about asbestos breaking loose,? said University-employed engineer Martin Altschul. Last year, the administration decided to begin abatement after surface ?swipe tests? returned positive results for asbestos, even though air quality tests indicated that the building was clean.

Said Altschul, ?There wasn?t a whole lot done in the building that wasn?t directly related? to asbestos abatement. However, the abatement process has many indirect effects: workers must destroy and replace entire walls and relay carpets that become too dirty to clean. ?We wiped everything out on the floors, so everything had to be replaced,? Hydzik said.

Asbestos abatement and contstruction on all of the other floors except for the first has been completed. ?[The July schedule] was an earlier schedule, before they decided to do more extensive renovations on the first floor,? said Hydzik.

Cheryl Hays, director of the office of the President, said that the continued work was not very disruptive to occupants of the building who were displaced near the end of last semester. ?You can?t walk down the steps; you just pick up the phone and call. That?s the only difference,? she said.

The campus master plan calls for the eventual destruction of Warner Hall and creation of a new administrative building behind Morewood Gardens. Administration decided to move forward with abatement and renovation over the summer, rather than putting up the new building, because of a lack of funds. The new work will not cause the project to run over budget, since sufficient funds have been allocated. ?[Money] was all established upfront,? Hydzik said.

?It was a very, very difficult thing to accomplish,? said Hydzik. ?I thank everyone for their patience and cooperation.?