Construction continues despite harsh weather

Mosser Construction Inc., the firm contracted to build the new Student Union, won’t allow little things like low temperatures, tons of rock or late steel deliveries slow them down too much.

‘The weather has not had a significant impact,’ said Ray Buckholtz, project manager from the office of design and construction. ‘We’re roughly about 30 percent of the way through the project.’

To combat the cold, workers blocked the exposed rooms off with plastic sheets and pumped heat in.

They also shifted their focus from outside work, such as laying structural steel, to indoor tasks like studs and partitions. While Buckholtz said this put interior labor ahead of schedule, by Alltel’s projections they are a couple weeks behind because of late steel deliveries.

Superstructure work began Sept. 1 of this year. All demolition and the foundation have been completed, with mechanical, electrical and structural steel jobs ongoing.

‘Seeing the steel go up is the most exciting part for me,’ Buckholtz said. ‘It’s like a big Erector set.’

Because the Union sits on bedrock, Alltel said about 600 cubic yards of rock had to be removed to get down to the required elevation.

‘We’re working around the existing core of the building,’ Buckholtz said. ‘The ballroom will be the only remnant of the old Union.’ The original wood floor is being protected, and the finished ballroom will have a sliding partition to separate one-third of it.

There are many features planned for the new Union. These include a two-story bookstore, a two-story theater, and a computer lab designed to house 100 computers.

A food court and sports bar, complete with pub and billiards, will be on the first floor. The second level will hold a sit-down restaurant, the third floor meeting rooms, and the fourth floor will be devoted to student activities, with a rentable multi-purpose room.

Also planned is a 45-foot wide atrium, which will serve as the main area for people to gather in. It will divide the Union in an east-west direction.

‘There will be a lot of glass at the east elevation, which will give it a real distinct look,’ Buckholtz said. ‘It should blend well with the campus architecture.’

Besides Mosser, the University contracted three other companies: The Collaborative for consulting; Gem for electrical; and Dimech for plumbing and mechanical work.

Buckholtz recently saw Penn State University’s student union and said that ours will be more spacious. ‘It’ll be a real nice facility. The number of square feet per student will be real comfortable.’

The completion date for the new Union is Dec. 12 of this year. Buckholtz said that students will see a lot of construction when they leave in May. The outside of the building, by all appearances, will be finished when they return in August.