College improves areas outside Roberts, Mary Low

Students returning to the College this year might have been surprised to find several new construction projects on campus. The asphalt road outside of the Mary Low Coffeehouse has been replaced with a brand-new brick pavement. Some small tables for students to relax and study have been added as well.

Construction is still in progress outside of Roberts. Although these changes certainly have not gone unnoticed, many might not know about the maintenance and accessibility work happening behind the scenes at these sites. 

In a recent interview with the Echo, Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Campus Planning Minakshi Amundsen described the motivation for the current construction outside of Roberts.

“The construction that’s happening here has been going on the entire summer,” Amundsen said. “We began the day after reunion, and we’ve accomplished several things in this area. The main production kitchens of campus dining, and some meeting rooms and offices are below this patio. And what we were seeing was that the waterproofing that had been done probably two decades ago was all worn out, and so water was leaking through from the top.” 

“That was not a good condition for anyone so what we decided to do was rip up all the pavement on the patio. We took everything out, completely waterproofed the slab, cast a new slab, and re-sloped it so the slope would go away from the building. And we also extended the patio by about ten feet. That allows extra space for students to walk. If that’s not complicated enough, we had a steam and condensate line leak, so we wanted to make sure that was fixed. It delayed the construction by probably three weeks, so that’s what you’re seeing right now,” Amundsen said. 

Amundsen also explained that facilities has been working to create areas on campus that can be used as social spaces for students. She hopes that once the construction in front of Roberts is complete, they can include chairs and other amenities to help students make use of the space.

“We’ve still got the fence up, but once the steam line is repaired and the walls are fixed we’ll extend the rest of the patio. When the fence comes down next week, all of the area torn up with soil will be replaced with sod. And then they’ll be putting in two trees so you’ll have this beautiful shaded area, and the patio and the lawn will be an open space for students. We’re trying to relook at how people move and being more intentional about the open spaces on campus,” Amundsen said. 

Finally, Amundsen described some of the motivations for the construction outside of Mary Low which also took place over the summer.

“You wouldn’t realize it, but we tore it all up to put four different kinds of utilities under it. All the steam, the water, the storm water, and the sewer were all redone to be completely new. And we put it back and graded everything, so the space is completely ADA accessible. No one needs to go on a separate ramp and we’re not separating access into different buildings,” Amundsen said.  

In addition to making the area of campus more accessible, Amundsen was also happy to see that many students were taking advantage of the new seating areas installed by facilities.

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