Facilities staff see much day-to-day progressBy Jennifer Leovy
Literally thousands of people will have participated in the Universitys Campus Master Plan when it reaches completion, from the first conversation about building needs to the last coat of paint on a new wall.
The staff of Facilities Services will be there through the entire process. According to Meredith Mack, Director of Facilities Services, one of her staffs major priorities is to make sure faculty and students can continue with their work despite construction on campus.
Whether we build new labs or new residence halls, we want our campus structure to support its community, said Mack.
Of course in the short term, construction will change where we can park, and it adds dust, but the ultimate payoff is when the buildings are finished, and we can reap the benefits.
Mack, Curt Heuring, University Architect, and Bob Holliday, Director of Project Management, are three people from Facilities Services who probably will be more familiar with the new buildings than anyone else on campus.
They provided some insight into what they do to the make the Master Plan a reality:
Mack: From the beginning of the process, I work with every major arm of the University to ensure we have the capacity and the willingness to manage building projects of this size. I coordinate meeting the legal, financial and operational milestones that assure the University can proceed with the campus-improvement plans. Even after we know a building will be built, I manage big-picture items that directly involve Facilities Services, such as making sure we have staff to properly run and maintain new buildings. Its an ongoing process, and I follow each project from beginning to end.
Heuring: I work directly with the architects who are designing the buildings and the University to facilitate communication between the two. This discussion focuses on three principal elements of the project: facilitating consensus on design issues and overall building aesthetics, coordinating the construction schedule and holding to the budget. As we move closer to actual construction, the time I spend on a building tapers off. My involvement with the projects diminishes once people move in and the buildings are open and serving the University. However, part of my job is to monitor how the buildings live and work within the campus environment over time.
Holliday: I get involved at the implementation phase. I make sure heating and cooling systems, lighting, etc. get into the architects drawings, and then we assess contractors for the University. I then take a building through the entire construction phase. If building begins and we find an unexpected steam tunnel in the way, I have to figure out a way to still make the design work by communicating with the designer and the construction firms. My job is to make sure the idea, the concept from the designer, gets implemented as closely as possible.
Mack said Facilities Services plans to inform the campus community about what is happening and when, particularly as construction crews begin working.
They are in the process of creating a Web site that will provide status updates and schedule details, as they become available for individual projects. The Chronicle will provide the Web site address as soon as it becomes available.