Emily Bush • Staff Writer
Over winter break, some renovations took place in the College of Arts and Sciences building. If you had been in the building any time just before the last part of the Fall 2019 semester, you might have noticed a buzz of construction workers and movers working diligently. Then, if you were to go upstairs, you also might have seen a blocked area just across from the stairs and paper lining the floor in order to protect it. If you were curious as to what was happening behind the tape, look no further.
The renovations in the CAS building are taking place in separate phases. The construction taking place before and during winter break was a part of Phase Two, and it made the connections for a new electrical service and new water hydronic services. Just so you know, because I definitely did not before this, a hydronic system is when hot or cold water is run through pipes in the walls in order to heat or cool the building. This has been proven to be more efficient than traditional air-conditioning system.
“During Phase Two of the CAS renovation, there was minimal asbestos discovered,” Senior Director of Media Relations Beverly Golden said in an email. “It was not located in the building itself but in an underground vault containing pipes to the building.” See, for a building constructed in the 1970s, like the CAS building, finding asbestos is very common. Work during the second phase was halted, and experts came to remove asbestos from the vault. In other words, no asbestos inside the building, just underneath, and it has been removed by professionals as per UT System protocol.
Plans have already been set in motion for Phase Three of renovations. Starting around May of 2021, the west half of the building will be updated with new safety systems to be provided by SmithGroup Architects.
These new systems include: new air handlers, sprinkler systems, fire alarm system, electrical distribution systems, and new ceilings. All of these will be renovated on both levels of the west wing of the building.
“We believe this effort will require six to eight months,” Vice President of Operations and Strategic Initiatives Jerry Stuff said. “With the scope of this phase of work being accomplished on both levels one and two over a summer break (a fourteen-week period), we will need to procure numerous construction items… well in advance of a start date.”
Also, a price still needs to be defined, and drawings need to be made. Before construction starts on Phase Three, 3-D images of the proposed plans will be generated for administration.