Regulations, wintry conditions delay library repairs until April

Elizabeth Campbell

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The renovations to the library plaza are “98 percent complete,” administrative officials said Friday.

Final construction is expected to be finished by the first week of April, said Paul Zack, manager of construction projects for Facilities Management. The work was substantially complete and accessible to students in September.

Weather conditions are preventing crews from finishing final repairs.

“We can’t do the work as long as the weather is at freezing or below,” Zack said.

Although there have been spells of mild weather this year, bringing out a contractor’s equipment and then not being able to use it is costly, Zack said.

Work on the lantern stair entrance is incomplete and currently not open to traffic. Paving in front of this entrance will be installed with the same stamped concrete used on the plaza to make the entrance more presentable, Zack said. This will likely begin in mid-March, he said.

To keep the plaza up to current codes and regulations, rails will be placed around the perimeter of the plaza and along plaza entrances. These rails have a special coating to protect the metal from corrosion and thus require little maintenance. The rails are still in fabrication, said Steve Sowa, associate director of Facilities Management.

Keeping the plaza “architecturally pleasing” and complying with codes initially delayed the plaza design, Sowa said.

“How do we put new rails in, comply to present code and still keep the original content of the architecture?” Sowa said.

The rails should be installed in about six weeks, Zack said. Additionally, the north entrance ramp must be altered to comply with codes. A landing needs to be installed to ensure anyone in a wheelchair or using crutches has a flat place to rest, he said.

Initially the plaza was slippery after rain or snow, Sowa said. To fix this, workers etched the top surface of the concrete to add abrasiveness during a warm weather spell about two weeks ago, Zack said.

Reach Elizabeth Campbell at

e-campbell-1@northwestern.edu.

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