Campus Construction Update, week of July 12: Hedge and Roger Williams halls

Construction worker rests

These days, “Hedge Hall is really all about steel,” says project manager Paul Farnsworth.

Trucks bearing Hedge Hall’s new steel skeleton should start to arrive Monday, July 19. Workers from American Aerial Services of Falmouth, Maine, will build the framework inside the existing shell, then do the roof and finally the building addition, which faces Alumni Walk.

And if the fare at your local drive-in has palled, you may want to swing by campus in the coming days to watch. The steel work will involve lowering girders through tiny holes cut in the remaining half of Hedge’s roof.

In the meantime, the new basement floor was poured in the original half of the building, built in 1890. The 1926 side is more complicated, and is waiting for the steel.

Roger Williams hall windows

“Right now original shoring is supporting the existing floors above,” Farnsworth says. “So once the steel is erected they can take out the shoring,” which is based on the floor, “and then they’ll be able to pour the slab.”

The other major Hedge excitement — which you can see if you’re Campus Construction Update and have a new stepladder to peer over the fence with — is the ongoing prep work the addition’s foundation. A trench for the frost wall is being dug now, and once that wall is poured, the slab can be laid. And then watch it rise.

After a point you won’t even need a stepladder.

Roger Williams Hall, meanwhile, is getting the shaft. By July 15, workers laying concrete blocks had completed two floors’ worth of the new elevator shaft. At the same time, they’re filling in windows that will be obscured when the addition is built on the building’s east side.

Speaking of windows, openings for the ground-level windows on the south side will be enlarged as workers lower the sills. “It’ll bring in more light if they lower the windows” in what will be kitchen and classroom space, says Farnsworth. “There’ll be a depression in the grade just outside as well.”

The excavation of the Bill’s foundation continues, to the extent that workers entering the building must now use a wooden bridge to cross what Farnsworth jokingly calls the moat. As we saw with Hedge during the spring, this trench around the building will allow for drainage work, a new concrete coating on the foundation wall and dampproofing.

The digging will make it all the way around the building after the middle of next week. At that point, a campus communications route will be switched to new lines near Central Avenue, and the old lines behind the Bill will be taken out.

Hedge elevator shaft

In connection with this work, phone service to several buildings will be interrupted as new cables are connected. Starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 20, and expected to take several hours, the outage will affect Merrill Gym, Underhill Ice Arena, the Cutten Maintenance Center, Alumni Gym and the Gray Cage, John Bertram Hall and Muskie Archives.

Also in the subterranean realm, there’s steam line work afoot. A new steam vault — a concrete box that provides access to valves, etc. — was planted this week near Hedge, and pipes hooking it into the campus steam system will be laid in the coming days.

Read more about the renovation of Garcelon Field.

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