Campus construction to extend through fall quarter

Jillian Sandler

Multiple campus construction projects in Evanston and Chicago are underway this fall.

Parts of Northwestern’s Garrett Parking Lot will be under construction for most of Fall Quarter and may limit parking for students. Once finished, the parking lot entrance, which will be dubbed Northwestern Place, will serve as a central access point to the Evanston campus.

“Right now there are two separate lanes to enter and exit,” said Bonnie Humphrey, director of design and construction at NU Facilities Management. “This will be united into a single entrance to allow the city to install a traffic light there.”

The traffic light, which Humphrey said will be installed next September, will help improve interactions between drivers and pedestrians crossing the lot’s entrance.

According to the Facilities Management website, the City of Evanston will also synchronize the traffic lights on Sheridan Road and its intersecting streets next year.

“It certainly will ease traffic flow and improve pedestrian safety,” Humphrey said.

The project will include the installation of new energy-efficient lights, walkways, blue light emergency phones and television cameras to improve the lot’s safety.

The fire lane serving nearby Lunt Hall and the Donald P. Jacobs Center will also be reconfigured to allow for smoother entrance of emergency vehicles, and the driveway north of Swift Hall and Cresap Laboratory will be realigned to ease traffic and pedestrian flow.

Construction work at both the intersection and within the parking lot, which started Aug. 29 and is overseen by Ragnar Benson Construction, is expected to be complete around Thanksgiving. Accompanying landscaping should be completed in the spring, Humphrey said.

Garrett Parking Lot will always be at least partially accessible throughout the construction process, she said.

“People will always be able to use the lot,” she said. “Parts of the lot may be restricted at different times. The entrance will always be maintained and parking slightly restricted, but available.”

Two additions to the Technological Institute are also in the works. According to Humphrey, the project, which aims to build more office spaces and research areas, has been in progress for over a year. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

Some NU students said they are frustrated by the construction on the Evanston campus.

“It’s kind of a hindrance that it just started when school started,” Weinberg sophomore Ellen Groble said. “I was working here the whole summer and it was irritating seeing nothing happen over the summer, but right when there was an influx of students, that’s when the construction and roadblocks began.”

Weinberg and Bienen junior Carrie Seavoy said the construction makes it difficult to travel around campus.

“It’s frustrating they didn’t finish (the construction) before school started,” she said. “I understand it needs to get done, but it’s frustrating when you have 10 minutes to get to class and the path you want to walk on is ripped apart.”

NU’s Chicago campus will also get to see renovations. According to Jay Baehr, senior project manager at Facilities Management, plans are being made to begin renovations of research labs at the Feinberg School of Medicine. At the School of Law, Turner Construction has been restoring classrooms and office space since the summer.

Baehr said both schools had facilities that needed updates.

“The medical school is a continuously changing research environment,” he said. “The law school had aging facilities.”

Construction on the medical school has yet to start, but work on the law school should be completed in two months, Baehr said.

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