Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Busy Summer of Construction

It's been a busy summer of construction at the library, with the construction contractor still hoping to complete the 5th and 6th addition sometime in October this fall.  Here is some information on several current projects affecting library operations:

Timeline:  Click to Enlarge
HVAC: The library has been cooled since Katrina with a temporary HVAC system represented by the eight galvanized steel towers along the back of the building feeding the plastic interior overhead tubes through which air is pumped to each floor. Technicians this month will begin testing and balancing components of the new HVAC system for the building built on the 5th floor. The testing will be limited to the upper floors first and then the building will likely be closed for the first couple of days when air from the new system is finally pumped through existing duct into the lower floors.  Dates for the closures,which will allow for air quality testing, will be announced in advance.  

Elevators:  Earlier this month Schindler Elevator Company completed work on elevator #3, which was the  first of the rebuilt elevators, extended to the 5th and 6th floors, to come back on line.  With elevator #3 fully tested, old elevator #1 was finally shut down for its rebuild.  A rebuilt elevator #2, which will share a vertical rail with elevator #1, will be operational as soon as that shared rail is replaced with one that extends to the 5th and 6th floor.  Both elevators #1 and #2 are expected to be brought back into service in October.

Central Stairwell:  Later this month the library's central stairwell will be closed so that crews can construct the stairs for the 5th and 6th floors above. During this time users will still have access to floors 2-4 from the two smaller stairwells on the Freret Street (south) and Dixon Hall (north) sides of the building and also via the rebuilt elevator #3 . Meanwhile, workers have been completing the installation of  new metal doors and overhead transoms at the entrances to the stairwell on floors 2-4. Work on the fire-rated glass enclosure  around the entrance to the central stairwell on the 1st floor was completed at the start of the summer session in June.  The remaining work within this stairwell includes the installation of new handrails on floors 1-6.

Additional Stairwell Work:  The contractor has completed the installation of new railings in the stairwells on the Dixon Hall (north) side and on the Freret Street (south) side of the building. Crews are now painting the new handrails and touching up the paint on the stairwell walls, alternating stairwell closures while the painting is underway.

Roof Replacement:  The roofing subcontractor on the project is completing work to replace the top sheets on the new roof, which did not pass some rigorous inspection tests.  The main problem was apparently uncovered in a test for wind uplift, which is conducted to identify whether the vacuum produced by high winds crossing the roof would create any separation in the top sheets of roof layers.  These are laid above a base roof layer of lightweight concrete. The top sheets are supposed to remain sealed together, but the tests showed some separation, which theoretically could result in tearing (holes). The additional roof work was not expected to delay the overall completion of the construction project.

FF&E: The interior design firm F E R R A N D d e s i g n has been selected to manage the Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF&E) portion of the construction project.  FF&E in this case will be limited to the selection of furniture because furniture layouts and most furniture types were approved by FEMA in the design phase of the project. The FF&E architect will work closely with Tulane’s Capital Projects & Real Estate Department and the Office of the Campus Architect.  The library will have input in the selection process as well.

Shelving:  All the shelving for the upper floors —both traditional shelving and high density mobile units—has been ordered.  Rails for the high density shelving have already been installed. More shelving components will  begin to arrive in a few weeks.

Collections Moving:  Work on an RFP to hire a qualified library mover to eventually move collections to the new upper floors (and to restore order to the lowers ones) is underway.  The moving project will be enormous and must involve the careful packing, transport, and reshelving of more than 55,000 linear feet of library collections. The move will likely be split into three phases with the first expected to begin in late fall, the second to take place during the winter intersession, and the last expected to begin next spring.

Sprinkler System: Work on the installation of the fire suppression (sprinkler) system for the lower floors (1-4) was finally completed last week, as crews wrapped up the installation of overhead pipe and sprinkler heads in the southwest quadrant of the 2nd floor.

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