Commons renovations nears completion

Peter shaver
Staff Writer

Construction is set to complete this week outside the Weinberg Memorial Library. The final project will consist of a raised terrace with flagpoles and other improvements installed.

Associate Vice President for Facilities Operations James Devers said construction of the flagpole terrace and replacement of surrounding walkway materials cost $1.597 million. The project is part of a “master plan for the reconstruction of the commons,” which began with the construction of the Loyola Science Center.

The project also aligned with a previously passed resolution by Student Government to install flagpoles on campus.

“It was a good response to their resolution,” Devers said. “Right now The University flagpole is located over in front of the Alumni Memorial Hall. So that one will go away and then we will landscape that area. The official University flagpoles will be, right now, at the center of campus.”

Earlier designs for reconstruction outside the Library considered other ideas.

“After reviewing the project, we felt that the three flagpoles would be a nicer touch and provide more use to that area than, say, a water feature,” Devers said.

Central to the latest reconstruction project was replacement of walkway z-brick materials surrounding the new flagpole terrace with bluestone.

The new materials are quarried locally on West Mountain and are widely used on college campuses. This replacement has occurred gradually over past years and will continue.

“The phase plan is to basically replace all the z-brick on campus. That has served us well, but it’s a high maintenance type of material. It’s not manufactured anymore… if you need to manufacture it, it’s a special process, and the bluestone will last a lot longer… than the manufactured brick that was there,” Devers said.

The project was scheduled for an earlier completion date but ran into minor difficulties.

“Construction started immediately after commencement 2016 and was expected to be complete by the time students arrived back for the fall semester. … we just had to wait in line to get the additional material that we needed,” Devers said.

Students will soon see completion of the flagpole terrace, and Devers said this will likely be commemorated.

“We do plan on having a first flag raising ceremony and involving the ROTC contingent… Hopefully that will take place within the next couple weeks. But right now we’re hoping to finish the construction this week. There are just some minor things that need to be done,” Devers said.

Sophomore Emily Schramm said she is satisfied with improvements being made outside the library.

“I think they’re trying to create another type of Dionne Green, a different version on another part of campus, which I think is nice,” Schramm said.

Sophomore Alexandra Spark said, while also satisfied with the new project, she believes the money could have been spent in other places.

“It seems a little unnecessary. It’s pretty, but I would like some air-conditioning,” Spark said.

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