Physical Plant answers questions about ongoing construction at Ames

By admin May 6, 2015

Physical Plant answers questions about ongoing construction at Ames – Nunzia Martino, News Editor


During November of last year, freezing temperatures led to the formation of cracks on the front steps of The Ames Library.

Since then, Physical Plant staff has been attempting to combat the issue and Physical Plant Director Jim Blumberg says there is still more work to be done.

“It was an issue with the drainage system under the stones. Water began freezing and the drains underneath the blocks became clogged, causing them to heave and lift,” Blumberg said.

According to Blumberg, issues similar to this one have occurred before. Since Ames was built in 2002, the stones have clogged periodically.

“We thought the problem was fixed, but it came back this past winter,” Blumberg said.

The construction developments leave some students with questions about possible causes, including sophomore Yolanda Juarez.

“It’s weird because Ames is a new building and you think it would be in better shape. The first signs of appeared a while ago as well. The semester is almost over now. It’s taking longer than I expected,” Juarez said.

Other students are concerned about how safe the temporary construction site is. “I thought it was particularly unsafe during the snow storms last year just because the pavement was so icy,” said sophomore Sana Shafiuddin.

First-year Citlalli Gonzalez, a student worker at Ames, said that she was unaware about the reasoning behind the construction until her supervisor informed her about what was going on outside.

“We have weekly meetings, and during one of them, a student staff member asked why construction was still going on. Our supervisor told us that the pavement started breaking and it had to be remodeled,” said Gonzalez. “I personally feel like the construction going on has the potential to be hazardous. Because there are boards on the pavement, people can easily trip and fall.”

But Blumberg assures that progress has been made, stressing Physical Plant’s mission to “efficiently operate, maintain, and improve the physical facilities in support of the programs of the University by providing a safe, clean, healthy, and attractive environment for students, facility, staff and visitors.”

“We have found the problem but are holding off until the weather gets better. We’ll have the plaza temporarily set up for Commencement,” said Blumberg.

2015’s Commencement is scheduled for May 3, at 1:00 p.m. Physical Plant staff will paint the wood planks covering the missing blocks to match. The staff will also remove the construction horses and the caution tape. This will serve as a temporary solution until after the event, when they will be able to officially finalize the construction.

When that time comes, they will finalize work on one side of the steps, and then they will complete the other side. This will allow Physical Plant to finish the work without blocking access to the library.

According to Blumberg, Physical Plant is currently ordering new customized blocks for the plaza.

Because the blocks are pre-cut and templates have to be made, it slows down the restoration process. The blocks have to be measured and precisely cut to match the various edges and contours of the Ames plaza.

After Commencement, Physical Plant will be able to finalize construction, and their goal is to have the situation fixed by the end of May Term.

“I’m confident that the project will be completed after commencement. We were hoping we’d find gold underneath those steps, but no such luck,” said Blumberg.


By admin

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