Construction under Catlin Avenue expected for summer into school year

Due to the flood during the summer, the pipes that conforms the steam system responsible for the heat of our campus buildings suffered damage. The insulation that helps to keep the pipes in good order have been destroyed or permanently compromised. A project to fix the steam distribution system was proposed in the Wisconsin State Journal on February 28 as well as at several meetings in Superior, offering an opportunity to review and comment about the changes and propositions involved in the project.

The meeting held on March 14 presented the last opportunity to submit comments for modifications or inquires to be studied in the final draft of environmental impact. Dennis L. Johnson is the supervisor of environmental services from Ayres Associates, the company in charge of the environmental impact study.

The project itself contemplate excavation, replacement, and waterproofing of the conduit steam system between Faxon Street and Crownhart Hall and has been divided in two phases. The first starting in late May 2013 and the second stage starting in the summer of 2014. The first phase of the project has been put into three segments  Segment 1; Campus mall to Crownhart hall, Stage 2; Fine Arts center segment, and segment 3; Faxon Street.

During the summer the students in the Res Halls, especially Crownhart residents, will have some disruption regarding the construction work. Some potential impacts will include noise and dust. Public transportation will be rerouted as well as traffic on Catlin Ave. Parking on Catlin Ave. and Faxon Street will be limited and pedestrian walkways will be closed as well as  some of the driveways, but only temporarily.

Another potential impact includes that the access to the buildings, mainly, Crownhart and Holden Fine and Applied Arts will be temporarily blocked by the construction. It has been predetermined that always at least one entrance to the buildings will remain open for the student’s access. The schedule will be adapted to the reslife hours to minimize noise and dust during the construction process.

“I plan on living in Crownhart this summer. It will definitely be a very different experience than previous or future years here, but I suppose all this construction is for the best,” said student Felicity Bosk.

The landscape will also suffer some impact; trees will be replaced or definitively removed. The landscape that will suffer the biggest transformation will be the green areas in front of the Holden, where 14 trees will be repositioned or replaced by smaller vegetation.

When most of the students return for the fall semester, they might expect to see some blocking and fencing, especially in the walkway between the Yellow-Jacket Union and Crownhart hall.

The cost of the project is $4.99 million. That will create up to $6.58million in benefits in the long term. The estimated cost of the project will not increase the fees in residence hall rates, parking permits or other student’s fees. UWS will attempt to partially recover cost through founding available with FEMA and WEM.

Manuel Rodriguez
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