Wirtz plans postponed

By Stephanie Bradley

Delays in contract negotiations and other obstacles for the Wirtz Quadrangle redesign have postponed plans for areas on the improvement waiting list.

The project to improve the area between Wirtz Hall and the University Health Service was to be completed by fall 1987 but has been delayed until summer 1989, Patricia Hewitt, assistant to the vice president for Budget and Planning, said.

Conrad Miller, NIU physical plant project manager, said $79,300 already has been allocated for the project from a Build Illinois grant. He said NIU will need to locate more money for the project.

Miller said the project was delayed for a number of reasons.

NIU originally hired the engineering firm Burton Ashman of Evanston, Ill., but the firm could not come to an agreement on the fee scheduling with the Capital Development Board, Miller said.

A second obstacle is several oil tanks that are buried in the ground near the heating plant, Miller said. The oil in the tanks was supposed to serve as a backup for the heating plant by the residence halls, but has since solidified and is useless, he said.

The tanks must be removed before any work can be done on the Wirtz Quadrangle area, Miller said. “Some of the money that will go to improvements will possibly go toward removal of the tanks,” he said. Reconstruction of Wirtz Drive will cost $158,300, he said.

NIU is in the process of hiring a new contractor, Hampton, Lanzini, Renwick and Associates of Elgin, Ill. Once the contract is signed with the firm, plans for the reconstruction of the area will be formulated, Miller said.

Physical Plant Director John Harrod said the design made by Burton Ashman is the same one the Elgin firm will use, but the specifications still have to be worked out.

Hewitt said the contract would have to be settled by May 15 to complete construction on the quadrangle by this fall. She said that is not possible. The construction date will be pushed to summer 1989, she said.

The only time the improvements could be made is in the summer mainly because traffic on campus during the regular school year is too heavy and would cause problems, Hewitt said.

Pushing this project to summer 1989 also delays the Carroll Avenue/King Memorial Commons project start date, Hewitt said. In addition, repairs and reconstruction plans for the Holmes Student Center will delay the Carroll Avenue/commons project to 1990, she said.

“There is some possibility of coordinating the Carroll project with the Wirtz project,” Hewitt said. The projects would not be able to be worked on at the same time, she said.

The commons area will have a designed landscape instead of the unplanned look it has now, she said. “You can still see the lines on the asphalt from when it was a parking lot. They just cut out parts and planted grass and trees in them,” she said.