University Centre construction begins


The University Centre is expected to infuse new life and energy into the campus. But its construction will also cause a few temporary changes.

The first activity the campus community will notice will occur when the contractor erects the hoarding (fencing) around the perimeter of the site. This is expected to start this week and take two weeks to complete.

The hoarding will start at the front entrance to Gilmour Hall and continue around the southern corner and along the south side of the building. An entrance will be maintained for the Bookstore.

(In an e-mail to the campus community this week, interim vice-president administration Paul Donoghue said that all permit holders for Zone 2 will have parking space in Zone 2. Visitors to the campus who require parking will be directed to Zone 1. Members of the community are advised to inform their visitors of this change in parking and of the need to allow themselves more time for parking when they come to campus.)

The hoarding will continue between Mills Library and Gilmour Hall in an easterly direction to the road that runs up past the School of Business. At this point, the hoarding will run due north to meet the arts complex at the southwest corner of Kenneth Taylor Hall.

Associate director of planning and construction John Farrell says it's possible the contractor will move some trailers on site at the end of March, at which point parking transit services will organize the redistribution of cars that are normally parked in this area to alternative areas on the east side of the campus.

The following entrances/exits will be affected by the construction project, says Farrell:

o The southeast entrance to Gilmour Hall will be closed, since it will be in the middle of the construction site.

o The northeast entrance to Gilmour Hall, near the steps to the Arts Quad, will be closed, since this is also within the construction area.

o The south entrance to the lower level near the Bookstore and to the upper level near the Council Chamber will be closed.

o The alternate entrance/exit to the Bookstore on the south side of Gilmour Hall will continue to be available by means of an open channel in the hoarding.

Buried-service relocations between Mills and Gilmour Hall and on the south side of Gilmour Hall are scheduled to begin in early April and to take just over a month to complete.

The excavation for the foundations and installation of foundations will proceed through most of May, June and July. During this time, heavy equipment, including trucks, backhoes, ground compactors and concrete trucks, will be in daily use.

In late July and continuing through to the middle of August, contractors will build a new tunnel connection to the University Centre, starting in the middle of the road just northeast of Mills. This operation will require that the affected road is closed and traffic re-routed for a period of at least a month. A local hoarding will be erected to protect this area for the duration of the work.

Between the middle of July and the new year, the building structure will rise up to three stories and be enclosed. This will then allow the trades to begin finishing work within the building, which will take until August 2001 to complete. This finishing work will include the replacement of all windows on the east side of Gilmour Hall and the Council Chamber and the installation of a water sprinkler system on each side of these new windows.

The schedule and contract requires that the University Centre be open for the fall term of 2001.

During construction, trucks and other heavy equipment will be routed from Main Street and Cootes Drive to College Crescent and north on University Avenue and around the east side of Mills to the construction site. The return trip will be the reverse of the above. Regional traffic enforcement requires that trucks not enter or leave by Sterling Avenue.