removing the library's elevator lobby ceilings is working faster than anticipated and ahead of schedule. Abatement crews were originally scheduled to finish the 2nd floor ceiling removal and abatement on Jan. 17 but will wrap up instead next Tuesday, four days early. It is likely that crews will start preparing to build their abatement containment area in the 3rd floor elevator lobby as early as next Monday, Jan. 12.
The 3rd floor ceiling removal and abatement would take about a week once its containment area is up. It should go quicker than in the 2nd floor lobby, because a smaller amount of ceiling on the 3rd floor needs to be addressed.
While the 3rd floor elevator lobby is closed alternate access to the Innovative Learning Center (ILC) area and Center for Library User Education (CLUE) classrooms is expected to be available through their emergency side exits, as when the central stairs were closed earlier in the construction project.
Once the 3rd floor lobby ceiling is removed the abatement project will be largely finished with access through all the building’s elevator lobbies restored.
Exactly how long it will take to fully rebuild the 2nd and 3rd floor ceilings is still unknown, since some initial engineering, specification, and subcontractor issues not likely to be repeated have delayed work on rebuilding the similar ceiling in the 4th floor lobby, which was removed before the fall study and exam period. With some of these issues now resolved, the construction contractor is estimating that the ceiling work in the 4th floor lobby may be finished by the end of next Friday, Jan. 16.
1st Floor Ceiling: The construction contractor is now estimating the large area of ceiling removed on the 1st floor, above the elevator lobby and a portion of the Learning Commons, will be fully replaced and the area returned to normal by Feb. 28. Indeed, the contractor would like to have all of its lower floor projects done by the end of February as well, which indicates an intention to split ceiling crews to work on more than one floor simultaneously when needed. Starting Monday (Jan. 12) , most of the upcoming work to rebuild the ceiling will be scheduled for late shifts working from 10:30 pm to about 7 am.
Freret Side Stairwell Closed: The former emergency stairwell on the Freret Street side of the building is presently closed while crews install new stairs and landings there for the 5th and 6th floors. While this work is underway the stairwell can be used in the event of an emergency, when the work above would be required to stop, but otherwise should be avoided.
Elevator Problems: With work begun to replace the building’s elevators and extend them to cover floors 1-6, two of the library's three elevators have been taken out of service and dismantled. This week the single remaining elevator was plagued with break downs. Schindler Elevator Company is reported to have isolated the cause of the problem and a solution has been planned.
The cause is apparently located in the controls behind the buttons in the elevator car itself, rather than in its main control panel above that was rebuilt during the library closure. Consequently, the elevator car controls will now be replaced with brand new parts that would have been installed at a later point once this elevator is eventually taken out of service. These are some of the same new parts the other two elevators are being given as part of their overall reconditioning while they are extended to reach the new 5th and 6th floors. The work will be done ASAP, as soon as the new parts are brought in, and may be completed by early next week, if not sooner.