Construction surrounding King Café to continue through March 2013
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 22:10
Tuesday, faculty, staff and students gathered on the sidewalk across from the Shriver Center to see the final beam hoisted into place atop the new Armstrong Student Center. The crowd cheered in celebration at seeing the end of the building stage for this project, but just up the road, the construction raged on.
In between McGuffey Hall and King Library, a team has been working since Oct. 3 on the university’s most recent project: the McGuffey Hall to King Library Steam Loop.
The purpose of this project, contracted to Progressive Plumbing for just under $400,000, is to connect existing steam lines between McGuffey and King, according to Project Manager Tammy Archibald.
Specifically, these lines will create a closed loop between the two buildings so the university can shut down the steam to one building in an emergency without having to shut down all the buildings in the area, according to Archibald.
These steam lines provide heat to the buildings as well as hot water. But all junior Colleen Coors sees are more green mesh fences that make it hard for her to get where she needs to go.
“It’s kind of annoying,” Coors said. “I have to walk all the way around King to get to class instead of just using those stairs, and it makes me late.”
Since construction began, the stairs connecting the driveway by King Café to the rest of academic quad have been blocked off and the drive itself has been occasionally closed to traffic.
This has been especially frustrating for junior Katie Hagerty.
“I never know if the road is going to be open or closed,” Hagerty said. “That’s been the biggest inconvenience for me.”
According to Archibald, the drive was closed for a few days so that they could install some steam pipes under the road, but they have covered the hole with plates so that the drive can remain open to vehicles from here on out. The only time the drive will be closed in the near future is when they repave it, Archibald said. She expects this will be in a few weeks depending on the weather and should take no more than a day or two.
The fences however, will be around until the entire project is completed: sometime in March, said Archibald.
For Steve Martin, one of the workers on the site, the fences are absolutely necessary.
“We have to close off the area for security reasons,” Martin said. “We can’t have students falling into our holes and hurting themselves.”
Though the work causes some obstructions for students and faculty, the university chose this timing because it made the most overall sense, according to Archibald.
“There was another project planned involving landscape restoration in the area around King Library,” Archibald said. “So we chose to do the project now so that we aren’t landscaping [an area] and then digging it up again.”
So far, according to Archibald, everything has gone according to plan.
“We’ve had a few delays with some underground obstructions and rain but no major setbacks,” Archibald said.
Though this particular project will be over and done with in the near future, Hagerty said she has grown frustrated by the backhoes, hardhats and dump trucks that have become a permanent part of the scenery.
“The most frustrating thing is that most of this construction is never going to benefit us,” Hagerty said.
But for first-year Stephanie Evans, the construction is just another part of her Miami experience.
“I guess I don’t really know any different because the construction has been here since I got here,” Evans said. “I think it’s kind of cool to see things progress. Like, one day, you’ll see a roof that wasn’t there before. I just hope it’s all finished in time for us to enjoy.”