Campus Construction Update: Feb. 4, 2011

Roger Williams Hall, stair tower, addition

Leaving a foot of new snow atop the foot Lewiston already had on the ground, this week’s snowfall fell somewhat short of the apocalypse predicted by the media. But it did keep many people at home and prompted Bates to close administrative offices.

Classes were held as usual, though. And alongside the students heading through the flakes were the workers performing the renovation of Hedge and Roger Williams halls.

Hedge Hall addition

With the exception of jobs like roofing, the renovation rolls on regardless of weather, explains project manager Paul Farnsworth. General contractor Wright-Ryan Construction of Portland is responsible for clearing the site, keeping a Bobcat around (the four-wheeled variety) to move snow and paying another firm to haul it away.

“There’s only so much space to stack it there,” says Farnsworth. Or anywhere.

Snow aside (which is where it belongs if you can find any place to pile it), most of the construction-site action is happening indoors. Inside Roger Williams, the installation of wall studs has been completed around the building’s shell on all but the fourth story. As was also the case in Hedge, a ceiling supporting a layer of insulation up there needs to be hung before the walls can be built.

Partition-wall frames are popping up all over. “The ground-floor studding is done, they have the door frames in and soon they’ll be drywalling,” says Farnsworth. A lot of first-floor walls have been framed in, and the second is being started.

On the outside, sharp-eyed observers will notice that myriad openings in the Bill’s roof, which comprises quite a baffling array of planes, angles, dormers and faux chimneys, have been closed up.

Roger Williams Hall

Completing the building’s weather-tightening, virtually all the windows have been installed, notably the two-story number over the main entrance facing Hedge.

“It came in pieces,” Farnsworth says. “They’ve still got some trim metal to strap on between the joints to make it look pretty.”

He adds, “You can’t see through it — they’ve got plywood on the inside. The stairway is going up behind it, and they didn’t want any chance of damage from welding and rigging the steel for the stair stringers.”

Inside Hedge, says Farnsworth, drywall troops are “going to town”: ground floor done, second story nearly done, first and third well under way. Inspectors have OK’d in-wall electrical and plumbing installations throughout, and painters have finished priming the ground floor walls.

A tantalizing bit of progress at Hedge, viewable from Alumni Walk, is the top of the new stair tower, part of an addition that’s increasing the building’s size by nearly 5,200 square feet.

Roger Williams Hall

The peak, along with part of the entrance, was exposed when plastic sheeting that has been holding in heat for masonry work was partially removed early this week.

The rest of the addition should be unveiled within days. And none too soon, says Farnsworth, as the masons are needed over at the Bill, where there’s another big addition awaiting its veneer of brick and granite.

With the masons clear of the Hedge roofline, roofers will be able to lay slate on the Alumni Walk side — if it ever stops snowing. (As this is written, snow is predicted for every other day until June 15.)

And the last of the window units will be installed within days. Now if someone would just get busy with a razor blade and scrape all the manufacturer’s labels off the glass — the better to see the snow through.

View more images of the renovations of Hedge and Roger Williams halls by clicking the thumbnails below.

Can we talk? Campus Construction Update welcomes your questions, reminiscences and comments about campus improvements. Please e-mail Doug Hubley, stating “Construction Update” in the subject line.

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