Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Elevator Lobby Closure Schedule; Building Closure 12/17 to 1/4 Confirmed

Tulane’s department of Capital Projects & Real Estate (CPREG) has released a schedule for the removal of elevator lobby ceilings in the the library that confirms the Howard-Tilton building will need to be closed from Dec. 17 to Jan. 4. It will reopen on Jan. 5, allowing the library to be open a week in advance of the start of the spring semester on Jan. 12. The full schedule with its floor sequence is below:  

4th Floor Lobby: (11/10 - 11/28) 
Impact:  4th Floor closed to public access [in progress].

Basement Lobby: (11/28 – 12/16) 
Impact expected:   Little impact because the basement lobby is not a public area. 

1st Floor Lobby: (12/17 – 1/4) 
Impact expected  Building will be closed 12/17 - 1/4 during intersession and will reopen on 1/5. Spring Semester begins 1/12.

2nd Floor Lobby: (1/5 – 1/17) 
Impact expected: Access to 2nd floor from Freret side and Dixon side stairwells only.  No elevator access to 2nd floor.  Alternate entrance to library administrative offices.

3rd Floor Lobby: (1/16 – 2/1) 
Impact expected: Access to 3rd floor from Freret side and Dixon side stairwells only.  No elevator access to 3rd floor.  Alternate entrances to Innovative Learning Center (ILC) and Center for Library User Education (CLUE).

Removal and replacement of the ceilings in the library’s existing elevator lobbies is needed to install the fire suppression (sprinkler system) required by building codes as part of the construction of the 5th/6th floor building addition. The ceilings to be removed were made with a material containing a low level of asbestos and their removal will require special containment areas to be set up around the lobbies and procedures for monitoring. The final part (1/31 – 2/10) of the abatement project will remove some seals around duct and pipe above the ceilings and connecting to a small interior chase within the stairwell on the Freret Street side of the building. This is expected to have only a minor impact on use of the building; a limited number of books on shelves directly adjacent to the stairwell may be covered with plastic sheeting.  The stairwell will still be accessible.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

4th Floor Closed to the Public: Nov. 10-28

Tulane’s department of Capital Projects & Real Estate (CPREG) has finalized its schedule for the closure of the library’s 4th floor. The floor is scheduled to be closed from Monday, Nov. 10, through Friday, Nov. 28.

The 4th floor houses the Latin American Library, the Music & Media Center, and general books stacks with call numbers A – DA. These areas will be inaccessible to the public during the closure period. The library will retrieve books requested from the Latin American Library and the general books stacks, and books in these areas may be requested via paper form at the library’s 1st floor Check-Out Desk and online. For instructions in requesting books from construction-affected areas online, see these directions. Some on-demand retrieval of books on the 4th floor from the 2nd floor Construction Concierge Desk during limited weekday hours is planned as well.

Staff from the Music & Media Center will provide a temporary music and media desk set up in the library’s 1st floor lobby and will retrieve recorded materials (CDs and DVDs) housed in the Music & Media Center from requests accepted at the temporary desk. This morning workers are cutting a hole in the wall between the Music & Media Center and the Latin American Library on the 4th floor to add a door that will allow staff to gain retrieval access to the Music & Media Center, which otherwise would have been blocked off.

The 4th floor closure is related to the removal and replacement of the ceilings in the library’s existing elevator lobbies that is needed to install the fire suppression (sprinkler system) required by building codes governing the construction of the library’s 5th/6th floor building addition. The ceilings to be removed were made with a material containing a low level of asbestos and their removal will require special containment areas to be set up around the lobbies and procedures for monitoring. On the 4th floor, the blocking of emergency egress caused by the work is the reason for shutting off public access to the floor and not necessarily the presence of asbestos there--since no asbestos release is expected during the removal process because of the strict regulatory abatement procedures to be used, according to CPREG and the abatement contractor.

The contractor for the lobby ceiling removal project is Quality Environmental Contractors, a firm that has worked in the library before. Their first order of business after the 10th will be to build a containment area around the lobby where the ceiling will be removed, then a crew will add moisture to the ceiling material to avoid any of it becoming airborne while it is dismantled in sections. The material will be sealed in bags and transported down the elevator and out of the building only between 4 and 6 am, after regular library hours . Once the ceiling is removed, all areas within the containment area must be thoroughly cleaned. Lastly the area will be tested and monitored for several days before being reopened.

If the work and subsequent monitoring can be completed before Nov. 28, the 4th floor will be reopened ASAP. The ceiling of the 4th floor elevator lobby will be removed and replaced first. The larger-area ceiling of the 1st floor lobby would be addressed during the intersession from Dec. 17 to Jan. 4. Work in the 3rd floor and 2nd floor lobbies would follow in the spring. Capital Projects & Real Estate (CPREG) has management oversight over the 5th/6th floor construction project.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Advanced Notice of Some Rough Patches Ahead on the Construction Calendar

Here is a heads-up warning and reminder of some rougher than normal phases of the construction project ahead on the calendar. Most of these projects have been noted before, but more details about their scope and timing are being discussed by the project managers now that the construction work is advancing overall.
  •  4th floor closure: Still expected to begin on Nov. 10 and last for about 11 working days, the floor closure is part of the upcoming abatement project that will remove the ceilings in each elevator lobby of the Howard-Tilton building. Because the configuration of the 4th floor does not allow emergency egress from one side of the building to the other except through its elevator lobby, blocked access will require the entire floor to be closed for public use. The 4th floor houses the Latin American Library, the Music & Media Center, and general books stacks with call numbers A – DA. These areas will be inaccessible while the 4th floor lobby is closed. To compensate, the library will have ready a retrieval system for books in the Latin American Library (LAL) and the general books stacks. Recorded materials (CDs and DVDs) housed in the Music & Media Center will be inaccessible even to M&MC staff, but the staff will provide a temporary music and media reserves circulation desk in the 1st floor lobby. All library personnel on the floor will be moved to temporary alternate locations.
  • 4th floor lobby sprinkler installation and ceiling rebuild: Once the lobby ceiling is removed, separate crews will follow behind to install the fire suppression (sprinkler) system in the area and also to rebuild the ceiling itself. Nonetheless, the lobby itself is expected to be reopened during this subsequent rebuild period, with paths of access to the elevator, access to the Music & Media Center, and through-access to LAL and the 4th floor open stacks maintained. This will likely be a pattern repeated for each elevator lobby addressed.
  • 2nd floor sprinkler installation to progress to staffed areas: The sprinkler installation is expected to progress to the area of the 2nd floor that houses the library admin office on Nov. 10, which will require admin personnel to relocated until Nov. 21, after which the work will progress to the southwest quadrant of the floor that includes the Microforms & Newspaper area. 
  • Elevator shutdown and replacement:  Work to replace the building’s elevators has now been scheduled to begin on Nov. 26, the day before the Thanksgiving holiday. The work will begin on the 26th with a shutdown of all 3 elevators that should last only a few hours, but the possibility of requiring most of the day. This will be needed to allow an electrical subcontractor to switch over power to a new power panel for the one elevator that will remain operational for up to 18 weeks afterward, while elevators #2 and #3 have their cables and controls replaced and are extended reach the new 5th and 6th floors. The wall where the present power panel for the elevators is located will be demolished early in the project. All mechanical parts from the old dismantled #2 and #3 units will be kept on site to speed repairs on elevator #1 if needed. Once the new elevators #2 and #3 are brought online in the spring, elevator #1 will be shut down and replaced.
  • Jack-hammering: The start of the elevator replacement project on Nov,. 26 will also signal the return of the jack-hammering operation on the building’s former rooftop, which is now its 5th floor. At first the jack-hammering will focus on the removal of the thick concrete platform on which the old elevator mechanical system presently resides near the center of the building. Later, jackhammers will be used to accomplish the larger-scale removal of the old roof membrane, a 4-inch layer of hardened concrete covering the entire floor. This operation should last into the spring. 
  • Intersession building closure: The scale of the ceiling removal on the 1st floor will require the H-TML building to be closed for most if not all of the holiday intersession between the fall and spring semesters, starting on Dec. 17. A building closure will be needed because the work on the 1st floor will block egress paths from the main entrance of the building to the central stairwell, the elevator lobby, the 1st floor stacks, and just about everywhere else. The library will seek permission from the university to continue to pay the library employees prevented from coming to work during this period, without forcing those affected to use their vacation or sick leave. Meanwhile, project managers will take advantage of the building closure by diverting the subcontractor for the installation of the sprinkler system from its scheduled work on the 2nd floor to the 1st floor Technical Services area during the building shutdown to avoid otherwise displacing the very large number of staff who work there during the much busier library period later in the year. 
By contract agreement, all disruptive construction work is required to cease during the library's study and exams periods, the next of which will be the period of Dec. 5 to Dec. 16.