Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Enclosure Installation to Temporarily Block Central Stairs Between Floors 1 & 2

The construction contractor plans to begin this week to build a  fire-rated glass enclosure planned around the entrance to the central stairwell on the 1st floor. Some preliminary work began yesterday and workers may begin installing framing for the enclosure glass panels today--so that the enclosure can be finished before the beginning of the upcoming study and exam period that starts Friday, April 24.

During most of the week and a half or so in which the work will take place, use of the stairwell between the 1st and the 2nd floors will be blocked during the day. The contractor has agreed to make provisions to reopen access to the stairwell between those floors for the evenings after each workday and on weekdays when no work is being done. But during the work the area within the stairwell between the 1st and the 2nd floors, and immediately surrounding, will need to be cleared.

Alternate stairs to all floors should be available  from both the former emergency stairwell on the Freret Street (south) side of the building and the former emergency stairwell on the Dixon Hall side (north) of the building.  The building's elevator will be available as well.


The large glass panels that will be installed for the enclosure are very large and very heavy. They are considered fire-rated because they are more dense and thicker than, say, the glass panels between the 1st floor lobby and adjacent Quiet Area. In other words, they will be pretty unwieldy. Crews will need to bring the panels in through the former front entrance. The contractor has been reminded to use the correct entrance and exit doors for this and to keep the doors closed otherwise.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Second Floor Sprinkler System Installation Schedule

The construction contractor has released a new schedule for the remaining installation of the fire suppression (sprinkler) system on the 2nd floor. Work is expected to begin there next Tuesday.  See phases below.

The new plan reverses the sequence of the phases outlined in previous schedules so that crews can focus on areas above the books stacks first and then eventually wrap things up in the staffed areas of Microforms & Newspapers and Interlibrary Loan (ILL) later, during the comparatively slower summer session.

Phase 4 Area: April 15 – May 8 
Area location: southeast quadrant of the building, plus a small area along a wall in the northeast quadrant a directly behind the restrooms on the floor and likely just for a few days near the start of the phase. 
  • Collections affected: PS92.02 - QC3.P35
  • Faculty carrels affected: F201-F208
 Phase 3 Area: March 31 – April 14 
Area location: southwest quadrant of the building including the staffed areas of Microforms & Newspapers and Interlibrary Loan (ILL), although it’s likely the work in these areas will be done in sequenced portions that would be the last parts in the phase.
  • Collections affected:  Book stacks QD1.T63 - QD951.W82; microforms and newspapers
  • Faculty carrels affected: F209-F216 
Once the sprinkler system installation is complete on the 2nd floor, the sprinkler project will be largely finished with only some small areas in the basement remaining, with one of the areas in the library staff lounge.

The sprinkler installation on the 1st floor is finally wrapping up today, with Monday allowed for minor touches, clean-up, etc. The sprinkler subcontractor could still be asked to return to area to fix any problems found during later inspections, but this would be minor stuff. The 1st floor work is expected to outwardly appear to be complete by tomorrow.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Elevator Lobbies Returned to Normal; Computers Back in Service


Some of the library's most popular study and gathering spaces have finally been returned to normal now that a project that replaced the ceilings in the elevator lobbies on all four lower floors has been completed.  Furniture and computers were returned to the 3rd floor lobby, the last to be finished, this week.

Removal and replacement of the ceilings in the elevator lobbies was needed to install the fire suppression (sprinkler system) that is included in the construction of the 5th/6th floor building addition. Unlike the rest of the building, the ceilings in the lobbies were made with a material containing a low level of asbestos.  They needed to be removed before the sprinkler lines above could be put in.

Removal of the ceilings required special containment areas to be set up around the lobbies and procedures for monitoring.  Once the ceilings were removed they each had to be rebuilt.  The work required coordination of numerous contractors and subcontractors--ranging from  the asbestos abatement firm to electricians, pipe fitters, dry wall installers, painters, and more.  Much of it required late evening or overnight shifts to help reduce disruption in the library for students and faculty.

All this began with the 4th floor elevator lobby way back on November 10, which served as a kind of test for the much larger 1st floor lobby and Learning Commons that was next in the queue.  The 1st floor work was so extensive that it required closure of the entire building during the intersession between the fall and spring semesters. The 2nd and 3rd floor lobbies were done over the period since.

Workers will still occasionally be seen in these areas--touching up paint, following up on punch list items needing minor fixes, etc. But the areas have all been turned back to the library as open for normal use.