HSC recladding will begin early

By Elizabeth M. Behland

The recladding of the Holmes Student Center, originally scheduled to begin in May, will begin Monday to allow the project to be completed before this winter.

The project is expected to cost about $2,465,400.

Depending on weather conditions, the completion of the tower recladding project is scheduled for November, said Conrad Miller, physical plant project manager. He said construction will begin in April so the project can be finished before any winter snowfall.

Workers began bringing construction equipment needed for the project to the site Monday and will continue to bring equipment throughout the week, Miller said. A large crane that will be used to lift limestone blocks to the tower will be brought to the site today, he said.

The recladding project originally was scheduled to begin in September 1988, but was postponed because the actual construction cost exceeded the project’s approved budget. At the time, the Board of Regents had approved a $1,995,000 budget for the project.

At the October 1988 Regents’ meeting, James Harder, vice president for business and operations, said NIU originally received and rejected bids to reclad the tower for about $3.5 million. He also said the project’s architects would modify the tower recladding plan to cut costs.

All bids considered for the project were received by Dec. 15, and the Regents then approved the almost $2.5 million project at the January meeting.

The normal activities held in the student center and the Martin Luther King Memorial Commons will not be affected by the construction, Miller said.

Construction workers will begin removing the bricks from the south side of the tower because the student center generates the most conference revenue from conferences held on the south side of the building, Miller said.

The brick removal produces noise that might interrupt the conferences held in the student center, he said.

“Weather permitting, by June, all of the work on the south side (of the student center) that creates the noise level will be completed,” Miller said.

The fenced-off area in the commons and on Carroll Avenue will remain closed, but activities still can be held outside the fenceline, he said.

The fence surrounding the construction site will be reinforced and signs will be posted to alert people of possible danger in the area, Miller said. Supervisors from the construction company will be in the area during work hours to make sure people do not pass through the area.

Miller said the physical plant will request extra security in the construction area to protect the equipment and warn people of debris that could fall from the building and into the fenced area.

It is dangerous for anyone to walk through the fenced area because a “possibility exists today” that bricks or debris might fall from the building, Miller said. When construction on the tower begins, the work will increase the possibility of falling debris because workers will be removing the bricks from the tower.