Thursday, March 17, 2016

Dedication Ceremony Held

Several hundred people attended a special dedication ceremony held yesterday to celebrate the completion of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library 5th and 6th floor buildback and hazard mitigation project.

The event was organized by Tulane's Office of Development and it began in the afternoon in front of the library building, where a stage had been set up for a series of commemorative speakers that included:
  • Michael Fitts, Tulane President
  • David Banush, Dean of Libraries and Academic Information Resources
  • Darryl Berger, Chairman, Tulane Board of Trustees 
  • Sarah Hostetler, ASB student government representative
  • Mike Womak, Director of the FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office 
Students, faculty, library staff, and other interested parties had been invited to the dedication event in a general invitation, and written invitations had been sent to important university donors and individuals specially related to the project. These individuals included principals from the library's partners in the project including Tulane Capital Projects & Real Estate, which supplied project management with assistance from VR Management, a division of VergesRome Architects; Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, which was the project's architect; and Roy Anderson Corp., which was the construction contractor.

Among those on hand and deserving of credit for the design, oversight, and completion of the project were:

Tulane project managers
  • Brian O’Malley 
  • David Schneider (VR Mgt)
  • Chip Verges (VR Mgt)
Contractor project managers
  • Brandon Skaff 
  • John Milazzo 
  • Chuck Dudenhefer 
  • Jeff Fick 
  • Bryan Hartley
Prinicpal Architects (Eskew+Dumez+Ripple)
  • Andy Redmon 
  • Jason Richards
Tours of the library and a reception on the new 5th floor followed after the speakers concluded the speakers' remarks.

The 5th and 6th floors were opened for use by students and faculty in January near the start of of the spring 2016 semester and with some work still continuing.  Today the new spaces are fully functional, with only minor finishing touches remaining as punch list items in the construction.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Massive Moving Project is Finished

The Big Move of collections to the library's new 5th and 6th floors, which also included large shifts of collections to help restore some lower floor spaces to their original use prior to Katrina, has been completed. 

Library Design Systems (LDS), the Houston-based company that last fall was awarded the contract for move, wrapped things up on March 9 as its workers, as a final task, filled some replacement cabinets delivered to the Microforms area on the 6th floor on the same day.

The move went pretty well, with the work going better during its earlier phases that involved the straightforward transport of material, and less smoothly with the last part that involved a more complex shifting large areas of the existing collections on the lower floors. But the overall project was admittedly an enormous undertaking with a lot of complicated moving parts. It is a good project to have behind us.

The project moved to library's new 5th and 6th floors more than 50,000 linear feet of library material that had been housed in several temporary locations. The 4th floor and 2nd floor shifting phase moved more linear ft. of material than that, albeit largely over shorter distances within the same building.

The move filled the new general "static" or traditional shelving on the 5th and 6th floors with books and government documents. On the 6th floor it filled large three areas of high density shelving for music books, music and media recordings, and rare books. It also moved some 125 microform cabinets and rehoused 1.2 million pieces of microform. Materials were moved from: the library’s off-site storage facility; the 7th and 4th stacks levels in Jones Hall; the temporary area for Music & Media located on the H-TML 4th floor; the open stacks areas in the northeast quadrant of the 4th floor of the Howard-Tilton building and other areas of the open stacks on floors 2-3; and the temporary area for Microforms & Newspapers that had been located on the building's 2nd floor.

The shifting on the lower floors cleared the way for the shelving underneath the wooden ceiling from the former Aron Room on the 4th floor to be removed to create more user space. It did same for the even larger space on the 2nd floor that used to be a central reading room.

Many people on the library end contributed to the move and its planning. David Schneider, an engineer from VR Mgt. and Donna Cook, the library's director of Technical Services, assisted me as principal Tulane contacts. Others included Lisa Hooper, BJ Blue, Doug Park, Jeannette Hunter, and Kelsey Chapman from our music, media, and microforms areas; Josh Lupkin, Chief Bibliographer for the Humanities, Kathleen McCallister, from Rare Books; Bruce Raeburn, Director of Special Collections, and Eric Wedig, Chief Bibliographer for the Social Sciences and Government Publications. Shane Robichaux and his Stacks Management staff Christie Otis and also Chris Gonzalez and Jianli Yao deserve special thanks for their help at various points in the move. Del Hamilton and her staff from LAC Group helped out at the library's offsite facility at 900 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway. At one point during the final week of the move most of the library’s Technical Services division could be seen shelf-reading on the 2nd floor, in a volunteer effort to identify areas where the final shifting needed to be corrected. Many others contributed with signage and by assisting library users during the move, and the operation probably affected all staff in the Howard-Tilton building and some in Jones Hall in one way or another.

The moving project had begun roughly on schedule just after the fall study and exam period and the completion of phases 1 & 2, which filled the shelves on the new upper floors, roughly coincided with the opening of the new space. The last phase was completed only a week or so later than the moving company’s original estimate and, importantly at a cost low enough to fit with federal and state expectations.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Construction Work is Continuing in a Separate Project Aimed at the Library's Basement

A new separate project focusing on a portion of the library basement will stretch construction work within the library building into this summer.

Thus, crews have begun preliminary work that includes demolition of temporary walls in the basement in preparation for construction of eight classrooms, 16 offices, two small conference rooms, and two study areas.  These will be used first as swing space by the School of Business because a larger construction project will add an addition onto Goldring-Woldenberg Hall and will next fall displace similar spaces there.

After the Goldring-Woldenberg addition is finished (in about two years) the classrooms would then become part of the general classroom pool to be assigned by the Registrar’s Office. In other words,while this construction project will take place in the library, it is not specifically a library project.

The time line for the basement project is extremely tight with a target completion date of July 29 in order for the classrooms to be ready for classes already being assigned rooms for fall semester 2016.

A portion of the library staff lounge is slated for demolition as part of the basement project so the original egress hallway that led to the basement elevator lobby from the library’s entrance stairwell to the basement can be restored. The lounge will be extended back toward the elevator lobby to replace the space.

Overall, the project would put back into use about half of the basement space that is presently unused, with the renovation focused on part of center and much of the north end of the basement—the side closest to Dixon Hall.

Preliminary Project Schedule:
  • [NOISE ALERT] Demolition Phase: Some work removing walls largely in the northeast corner of the basement began late last week.   The noisy part of this may continue today and possibly tomorrow, as workers use drills and power hammers to remove nine cement risers that once served as base foundations for old mechanical/HVAC equipment.  Cement debris from this operation would be carted up to the 1st floor and removed from the building out the back entrance in the early hours prior to the library opening for a few days. All other materials, including construction materials, would be bought in and out of the building through the existing contractor entrance to the basement at the northwest corner of the building. 

  • Design Phase: Construction documents will be prepared between now and mid-March.

  • Permit Phase: Project managers are hoping for all necessary construction permits to be obtained by April.

  • Construction Phase: Actual construction should start on April 1.

  • Quiet Period: No work will be allowed during the library’s spring semester study and exam period (or during the earlier 5th and 6th floor dedication event planned for March 16).

  • Construction Completion Target: July 29.

  • Occupancy Target: August 1.

Tulane Capital Projects & Real Estate Group (CPREG) will oversee and management the basement project. VergesRome Architects and VR Mgt. will assist, and will also handle the design and preparation of construction drawings. The construction contractor that has handled the library’s 5th and 6th floor build-back addition is handling the preliminary basement demo work and may stay on for the remainder.