Art and IMM Building, apartments on budget

The construction of the Metzger Drive apartments and the Art and Interactive Multimedia Building (Art and IMM Building) are still on schedule for opening in the next academic year, according to Campus Construction.

“The apartments are on schedule and the Art and IMM Building, as you can see, is coming up out of the ground now,” William Rudeau, director of Campus Construction, said.

“The projects are on or ahead of schedule, have few change orders and are within the allocated budget,” Matthew Golden, executive director of Public Relations and Communications, said in an e-mail. “There have been a few changes related to building systems and construction materials but no major changes to the buildings’ appearance and layout.”

The student apartments, located along Metzger Drive across from the soccer field and Metzger Garage, also known as Lot 6, “will provide a total of 400 beds for upper-class students,” according to the College’s Web site.

The apartments replace the previously constructed apartments that were torn down due to water damage. The new apartments did not suffer from the same damage because they are “a whole different production . They were built on site, unlike the other apartments,” according to Rudeau.

Though the weather was challenging in December and January, the construction team has been able to “work through the tough weather conditions,” according to Rudeau. The office of Campus Construction has maintained direct contact with College President R. Barbara Gitenstein with weekly updates.

The temporary fence dividing the lot between the Brower Student Center and Loser Hall marks the site of the Art and IMM Building. The parking spaces have been moved to Metzger garage to make way for the building, according to Rudeau.

“Behind Loser is the last leg of the construction,” Rudeau explained. “The steam infrastructure is being upgraded for the Art Building.” Rudeau is planning to schedule a steam shutdown during Spring Break to complete the upgrade.

Taras Pavlovsky, interim dean of the School of the Arts and Communication, said the Art and IMM Building will include “new classroom spaces, new studio spaces, new exhibition spaces, new computer lab spaces and new faculty offices.”

“The building will also contain a unique, for the College, exterior oval courtyard used for exhibits and gatherings, an exterior second floor terrace and a small interior gallery space. The building will also complete the Loser/Music quadrangle by enclosing the south side, creating a grand new outdoor room for the campus,” Golden said.

Computer labs will be moved to the Art and IMM building from the Music Building, Holman Hall and Forcina Hall. The art gallery in Holman Hall, however, will not. Holman Hall will also still house various computer and communications classes, according to Pavlovsky.

“Enhanced facilities do lead to better learning outcomes especially when the learning depends on the facilities,” Pavlovsky said. “Students need a place that is conducive to their work.”

The new building will also give the College a recruitment advantage, as it will leave an impression on potential students.

“Any new building built with modern technology will be more efficient,” Pavlovsky said. “We can expect substantial energy savings . It costs money to build it but it costs a whole lot less to maintain it.”

According to Pavlovsky, the scheduled date for “substantial completion” of the building is Nov. 13, 2009. It will then receive a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy by late December, which will allow for final checks in its mechanical aspects and balance the computer system. The building will be commissioned and officially opened in January 2010.

“It’s been going very well and we haven’t hit any major snags yet,” Pavlovsky said. “So I’m still confident.”