Feb. 15, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 10

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    Turkington reports status of Max Palevsky Commons, other major construction projects

    This week Ed Turkington, Deputy Dean of Students in the University and Dean of Student Services, provided details to students on the status of various campus building projects. “With many new buildings in different phases of planning or construction, it’s important that everyone know the projected timetable,” Turkington said.

    Palevsky Residential Commons will open in phases, beginning this autumn. Palevsky East, the largest of the three buildings, with 308 beds, will open in time for Autumn Quarter 2001. Palevsky Central, with 268 beds, and Palevsky West, with 158 beds, will open in time for Winter Quarter 2002. The nearby conversion of Bartlett Gymnasium into the Bartlett Dining Commons also will be completed in time for Winter Quarter 2002, and the opening of the Ratner Athletics Center, which was projected for fall 2002, has been delayed.

    “However, the delays will not cause overcrowding because we are keeping Woodward Court open as both a residence hall and dining facility for Autumn Quarter 2001,” said Turkington.

    “Our target opening date of September 2001 for Palevsky Commons was challenging but achievable if all the major design and construction variables went as planned,” Turkington explained. “Unfortunately, both minor and major issues arose, with the most significant impact on the schedule from an unprecedented building boom in the City of Chicago that slowed everything from permit review to subcontractor’s estimates.

    “Other factors include unanticipated logistical difficulties in relocating utilities on the site and extremely harsh winter weather in December with both heavy snow and sub-freezing temperatures.”

    Turkington added, “Because both the Palevsky and Bartlett projects share many of the same site and construction resources, Bartlett was affected by the same issues. In addition, because Bartlett is a historically significant building, there were special architectural and construction requirements to adapt it from a gymnasium to a dining hall.”

    Turkington explained that the demolition of the residence hall Woodward Court will provide much needed space for the new home of the Graduate School of Business. This will in turn provide space on the Main Quadrangles for the College and the Divisions of the Humanities and Social Sciences, whose needs for additional space have become critical. The GSB will vacate Stuart and Rosenwald halls and the Walker Museum building. “The Department of Residence Halls and Commons must fully decommission Woodward in January and February 2002 so the GSB can start preparing the site for its new building,” Turkington added.

    All the residents who are assigned to Woodward Court for Autumn 2001 will move into the two new Palevsky buildings before the start of Winter Quarter 2002. RH&C will supervise the logistical and financial arrangements to move students and staff. In addition, Turkington anticipates that there will be additional space in Palevsky West and Central, which will be made available to students using the regular room assignment procedures.

    The Breckinridge and Max Mason houses will be taken out of service at the end of Spring Quarter 2001. “The new Palevsky buildings will provide many more housing spaces than our projected demand,” Turkington said. “Of all the residence buildings on campus, Breckinridge and Max Mason are both appropriate in size for this transition and in need of significant capital investment that is better allocated elsewhere at this time. We want to defer the work on those buildings so we can focus on the existing and new residence halls that we need for the 2001-02 academic year.”