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Farley refurbishing begins

Joe Piarulli | Thursday, February 16, 2006

The newest renovation on campus hopes to make “The Home of the Finest” a little finer.

Farley Hall’s restoration project, expected to cost more than $3.5 million, began last week with chemical cleaning to the bricks on the outside of the building. Jeff Shoup, director of the Office of Residence Life and Housing, said most of the work will be done over the summer and not during the school year.

“The minute that students leave … they’ll completely go crazy in there starting to dismantle things and do demolition,” Shoup said. Farley’s transformation will be quite similar to that of Dillon last summer and Alumni during the summer of 2004.

The extensive renewal will include installation of new windows, refurbishment of the building’s roof, restoration of exterior ramps and stairs, upgraded electrical systems and lighting and replacement of some lounge furniture. Bathrooms are another target area, Shoup said.

“Community restrooms, just like Alumni and Dillon, [will] be completely gutted, demolished and replaced,” he said. “There will be completely new bathrooms.”

Shoup says the University covers the $3.6 million cost of the project, but a constant flow of funds is never guaranteed.

“Every year there’s a certain part of the budget that’s put aside for renewal,” he said. “September 11, 2001 really challenged the University’s investments. I don’t think that next summer we did any renovations to the extent that we’re doing this year.”

The renovations in Dillon and Alumni finished almost the same time as resident assistants arrived on campus. Shoup expects the Farley project to be completely finished by the time students arrive in the fall.

“Usually those last couple of days we’re scrambling to do a lot of vacuuming and trying to clean up,” Shoup said.

The main goal for the rest of this semester is to get the masonry done without disturbing the students too much.

“I don’t think they’ll be working this Friday for [Junior Parents Weekend],” Shoup said. “They may be off for a two-week period once study days start … For finals, obviously they’re not going to be sawing bricks outside.”

For students who do not reside in Farley, the question of the day becomes “Who’s next?”

That question is not answered thoughtlessly, Shoup said.

The Facilities Operations group does a nearly six-month review of all the buildings, paying careful attention to infrastructure, heating systems, windows, plumbing and electrical systems before making any decisions.

Former renovations also play a role. Shoup said dorms like Badin and Sorin – that have had some restoration in the last 10 to 15 years -would not be likely candidates for renovation in the near future.

“It’s up to Facilities Operations to take a look at how significant and how urgent the needs are in those buildings,” Shoup said. “They’re keeping track of which buildings have the greatest needs.”

That leaves good news for some, and less exciting news for others.

“Right off the top of my head, [Breen-Philips], Cavanaugh, Zahm and Carroll are probably in the next group that have the greatest needs,” Shoup said.