Campus gets a new look

Summer is the season of construction on campus. In the three months between graduation and Orientation, the staff of Campus Design and Facilities Development (CDFD) was hard at work completing a long list of construction projects while the campus was less populated.

According to its website, CDFD is “responsible for managing the construction of new buildings and renovation of major projects throughout the planning, design, and construction phases.” Coordinating its project delivery with other university service groups, CDFD constructs projects on behalf of the specific users and for the campus in general. Most of the work has to be done in three months of the year.

“We have to get it all done while students and faculty are gone for the summer,” said Ralph Horgan, associate vice provost of CDFD.

Students will notice that the front steps of Doherty Hall underwent major renovation to incorporate a new wheelchair ramp, and the track in Gesling Stadium has been completely replaced.

“It looks just like the old track, but it’s much higher quality,” said Bob Reppe, director of design at CDFD.

Next door to the track, construction on the Tartans Pavilion is underway. The Pavilion will be a dining area featuring garage-door style windows that can be opened to convert it into an outdoor space. CDFD is coordinating with Housing and Dining on that project, which is slated for completion by Homecoming, in late October.

Students might also notice the new study rooms being built in both Engineering and Science and Hunt libraries. CDFD is coordinating construction of these rooms for the University Libraries. They are slated for completion on September 6. And, if you’re studying in Hunt and want to take a quick nap, check out the new nap pod that the library administration has installed in the Maggie Murph Café.

Although not one of CDFD’s projects, another major project underway is the University Libraries’ reclassification of holds from the Dewey Decimal to the Library of Congress system in both Engineering and Science and Hunt libraries. The reclassification will continue into the fall semester, according to the library website, and students may expect to have some difficulty finding books until the process is complete.

The movement and expansion of Entropy, Carnegie Mellon’s convenience store, began just last week and will be completed sometime this semester, according to Horgan.

The new facility, called Entropy Plus, will be located in the old lounge next to Sí Señor on the first floor of the University Center. As well as having 50 percent more space than the old Entropy, Entropy Plus will have new features such as an organic food area.

Some students in campus housing get to enjoy newly renovated living areas. Two of the houses on the fraternity quad — Pi Kappa Theta and Kappa Delta Rho — were completely gutted and redone. In addition, the Margaret Morrison Apartments underwent extensive renovations including new cabinetry, new bathrooms, and updated wiring and lighting fixtures.

Some of the CDFD’s other major projects were less visible to students. Classrooms all over campus received updated instructional technology. Posner Hall, home to the Tepper School of Business, received space renovations on all floors.

University personnel also renovated the basement of Posner Hall in preparation for the installation of a distance-learning studio. A similar studio will also be constructed inside the university’s building at 4616 Henry St. Both studios will incorporate state-of-the-art technology and will cost over $1 million each.

When complete, classes and presentations filmed in the studios will broadcast to remote locations such as Greece, Portugal and Japan.

“These have been pretty major renovations,” said Reppe. “It’s essentially like building a TV studio in the basement.”

This summer, Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall received a new biodiesel generator for use by the Intelligent Workspace on its roof. The building’s basement also received a fabrication laboratory with state-of-the-art architectural design equipment.

Renovation on a number of the laboratories in the Mellon Institute are nearing completion, and some area already in use.

In addition, the CDFD is working on several long term projects. The Gates Center for Computer Science is the most expensive project, and is slated for completion in 2009. Other large projects include the renovation of the third floor of Hamerschlag Hall and the renovation of Doherty Hall, which will continue for at least another year, according to Horgan.

In addition to the CDFD, Computing Services has been at work changing and improving the computer clusters on campus.

The largest changes have been to the West Wing cluster, which has been redesigned and is now called the West Wing collaborative cluster. The cluster’s interior seating space has been reconfigured. It will now contain a kiosk-like “stop-in” area for quick access to computers and new seating arrangements to accommodate different study styles, such as a laptop-friendly lounge area and a set of booths for group study, according to Computing Services’s newsletter. The cluster will be open for student use sometime in September.

Computing Services has also converted the Apple Orchard in the basement of Hunt Library to a Windows cluster. The Macs have been moved to the cluster in Wean 5201/5203, which will be open 24 hours a day.