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Saint Mary’s construction continues on campus

| Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Saint Mary’s Science Hall, which was under construction during the 2015-2016 academic year, is ready for use, and construction on the new Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex will begin later this fall.

The Science Hall is almost complete despite slipping a few weeks past the intended July completion date, professor of biology Thomas Fogle said.

“We are right at the very end, and we’ve been talking to construction people and they are beginning to move out,” Fogle said. “They’re just finishing the last little details, and we are going to be moving equipment in over the next few weeks as space becomes available.”

Austin Stahly, manager of energy and facilities projects, said the construction hold-up was in part due to a nearby tunnel being unable to support the originally planned construction load. Now that is settled, concrete trucks will pull in and complete the sidewalk, stairs and handicap entrance very soon, he said.

Fogle said the physics lab and lecture rooms, on the basement level, have been completed and in use since last December. The biology and chemistry rooms will be ready for use soon, as well.

“I would expect over the next few months we’ll be fully integrated into there, using these spaces certainly within the next few weeks,” Fogle said.

Ben Bowman, director of facilities, said the actual building is ready for occupancy, though small details still need to be completed.

“We pulled all of [the construction workers] from the exterior to concentrate on finishing the interior, and now that we’re able to occupy the interior, we have people working on the exterior,” Bowman said. “The inside can be fully occupied at this point, and now professors are trying to get their equipment organized and moved into the labs before they start holding classes in there.”

Fogle hopes students take full advantage of the new spaces for studying, exchanging data and relaxing. Two of the smaller labs will be used for research requiring very clean conditions, such as microbiology and cell cultures, while the larger lab space is more multi-purposeful.

There will be a building dedication Oct. 14 for donors, students and faculty to see the new space, Fogle said.

Though construction on Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex is due to begin this fall, the athletic fields have been completed and are currently in use by the soccer team for evening practices and a scrimmage, Bowman said.

Bowman said the addition will include a field house with suspended track on the east side, a health services suite on the south side, an athletic suite on north side is the athletic suite, a multi-purpose room on the west side, and cardio and strength will be located centrally.

Julie Schroeder-Biek, director of athletics, said in an email that the facility will be very functional for the College’s athletic department by providing needed locker room space, room for intramural and club sports and more.

“This will be a building that our entire campus will benefit from,” she said in an email. “Besides athletic, fitness and strength options, there are a lot of planned community spaces built into the building as well. We have spacious lounges and a cafe.  Women’s Health and [the Belles Against Violence Office] will join us in the facility, so that it truly will be an athletic and wellness facility.”

Stahly said the usual occupants of Angela are currently spread out in four places with most of the staff located in Dalloway’s Clubhouse, some staff members in McCandless Hall, strength and cardio equipment in the basement of Regina North and training staff still located in Angela.

Volleyball and basketball will still use the performance court in Angela for competitions this season, Stahly said.

“We’re fortunate to have space on campus to move all the activities, people and equipment,” Bowman said.

Construction crews will move in after Labor Day, and the plan is to be done sometime early in 2018, Biek said.

A final noticeable campus construction activity is located on the west side of Le Mans Hall, where a tunnel top cracked and began to settle over the summer, Bowman said,

“They had to pull that tunnel top off this summer and … pour a partial lid on top of it,” he said. “That tunnel gets a lot of traffic from people trying to get around to the north side of Moreau, with deliveries, lifts for roof repairs, etc. So that and age could have been part of the issue there.”

Bowman said other tunnels on property are not to the point of failure, but have been addressed. Recently repaired tunnels include the tunnel on the west side of the library, and big concrete structures have been placed on top of the tunnel between McCandless and Angela to prevent the added weight of parked cars and heavy bus traffic.

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About Kathryn Marshall

Kathryn Marshall, Saint Mary's College '17, is a Biology and Humanistic Studies double major. Follow Kathryn on Twitter @kmarshallSMC

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