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.

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