Seven a.m. alarm.
Campus construction. It is a love-hate relationship that Shippensburg University students have come to know well.
As of right now, the construction is physically 73 percent complete, according to Eric Barr and Bruce Herring of the Department of Facilities Management and Planning.
There is currently heavy construction around Shippen Hall and Memorial Auditorium. In the next month, activity will shift toward Heiges Field House, and Lancaster Drive will be closed for a period.
People using the commuter lots will eventually need to come to SU via Adams Drive.
When the time comes, students will receive an email approximately a week in advance to warn them about upcoming road closures.
All the digging that is churning up mud is for the placement of pipes for the installation of the new cooling system. Workers are digging from one vault to the next in order to lay pipes. Although the construction can be inconvenient, the end result is expected to ultimately help the university.
“It has to get worse before it gets better,” Barr said.
SU’s carbon footprint will be reduced by 8 percent, thanks to the new cooling system, and approximately $330,000 will be saved each year in electric costs, according to Facilities Management and Planning. The heating system in place reduces SU’s carbon footprint by 31 percent and saves $10 million in upfront costs.
The construction for the new heating/cooling system started in the 2013–2014 academic year. Since then, the heating phase has been completed and the cooling phase is a few months away from its end.
The cooling system being placed now should be operational by April 15, according to Barr and Herring.
Weather can be a bit of a setback, but so far the only major problem construction crews have faced is a broken excavator.
Construction altogether should be complete sometime in July. When students return for classes in the fall, construction will be only a memory.
In the fall there will be new steps leading up to Heiges Field House and a new sidewalk by Henderson Gymnasium up to Memorial Auditorium.
There are also plans to make renovations to Mowrey and McLean Halls in the summer, according to Barr and Herring. The biggest changes will be made to the plumbing, which includes upgrading the bathroom areas.
Naugle Hall is also scheduled to be demolished in the summer after asbestos is removed, according to Barr and Herring. Asbestos is a material sometimes used in insulation and on pipes in buildings, but once released into the air it can cause cancer if inhaled.
“If you want a picture of Naugle Hall, now would be a good time to get one,” Barr joked.
The Department of Facilities Management and Planning strives to keep construction on schedule while meeting the needs of students. If students or faculty notice areas on campus that are especially muddy, they can contact facilities to request the placement of a temporary pathway. Facilities requests that students walking around on campus do their best to stick to the temporary pathways in place so as not to track dirt and mud into the buildings.
It can be inconvenient walking to class, but safety is a No. 1 priority. Facilities Management and Planning urges everyone to be on alert while walking past areas with heavy construction.
“I know they’ve had people that have not heard back-up alarms or a construction worker trying to shout at them,” Barr said.
Construction begins at 7 a.m. each day and continues until around 4:30 p.m. There are five crews working with about 25 people each, plus multiple contractors and truck drivers, according to Barr and Herring.
During exam week at the end of the semester, construction near residence halls and academic buildings is put on pause.
“We appreciate everybody’s patience with the constant rerouting and the inconveniences,” Herring said. “We’re doing it for a good reason, to save a lot of money, to reduce the carbon footprint. There’s a lot of positives with it and there’s no easy way to get through this process.”
Anyone with concerns about campus construction should contact the Department of Facilities Management and Planning, located in the Kenneth O. Reed Operations Center.
Graphic design by Mary Grace Keller