New construction faces hurdles

Kiara Royer, Staff Writer

Although the HM in Motion project was slated to be completed by September of 2018, the ongoing construction not only requires additional work after the school day but affects some aspects of student learning.

The construction crew is currently working daily from four p.m. to midnight in order not to interfere with the school day, Director of Facilities Management Gordon Jensen said. Jensen has assigned construction personnel to work during the day for the sake of efficiency but only if their work is not near a classroom that could be disturbed, he said.

Since some new developments will be installed indefinitely, it is really important that they completed the construction correctly, he said.

“Prettyman Hall was built in 1923, and whenever you are working with an existing structure, there will be unknowns you will have to deal with on the spot,” Jensen said.

Not only did the construction crew discover that most of the electrical units in Prettyman were not up to modern code and had to be replaced, but they also had to install a completely new air conditioning system, he said.

The fire and building inspectors’ inability to respond to the invitation to inspect the site also delayed the start of construction, Jensen said.

“These delays take weeks, and we only got our Certificate of Occupancy one to two weeks before school. Since the summer is only 11 weeks long, it doesn’t surprise me that the work extended into the school year,” he said.

Although the project has faced delays in some areas, the cafe in Lutnick Hall is almost ready to operate as soon as the cabinets are installed, Jensen said.

“The cafe and new student lounge seem really nice and I’m excited for when the cafe opens, but I haven’t really seen a lot of people hanging out in the new building, which will hopefully change,” Leyli Granmayeh (10) said.

Other aspects that still need to be installed include the permanent windows in the Simon Family Fitness Center and the doors for the hallways of Prettyman Hall, Jensen said.

Safety materials such as cameras, emergency call boxes, and shelter-in-place buckets are also still currently being placed in classrooms, Director of Public Safety Mike McCaw said.

One of the last pieces of construction to be finished will be the basement of Lutnick, as construction can be completed without interfering current classes or student life, Jensen said.

The basement will include a research lab as well as physics labs, he said.

The tennis courts are one of the bigger challenges because it is a time consuming process for the construction crew to tear down the old asphalt, Jensen said. In addition, as the weather turns colder, the construction crew will be unable to continue their work, he said.

“It’s unfortunate, but the tennis courts may not be complete until I can resume construction in the spring,” Jensen said.

Besides the tennis courts, the construction for the rest of the project should be completed by winter break, he said.