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Friday, Jul 25, 2014

A Few Clouds, 64 °F

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West Green

Construction workers put the finishing touches on the new West Green landscape. Along with new sewers, walkways and a renovated James Hall, the green was given a thorough update.

Photographer: Aaron Krumheuer

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An insider’s view of Residential Housing’s capital endeavors


Last May, senior business economics major Evan Wilkof got a first-hand glimpse of OHIO’s capital endeavors for Residential Housing, thanks to a summer internship.

He joined Residential Housing as the financial assistant to Penny Trace, the associate director for capital planning. In this role, he toured campus construction sites, took part in a contractor selection process and got a glimpse into the day-to-day work of the University administration.

In this essay, he shares an inside account of the renovation and construction that occurred over the summer.



Time constraints are an important facet of nearly every development and construction project, however at Ohio University, time sensitivity is of utmost importance.

The Residential Housing Department experiences cyclical business with the mass move-in process in the fall, followed by a mass exodus of students in mid-June. Empty residence halls in the summer are the best opportunity for renovations and maintenance. This past summer was no different, with many development projects underway.


On South Green:

  • Improvements were made to the catwalk, including waterproofing and structural reinforcement.
  • Several residence halls received new roofs and gutter work.


On West Green:

  • Landscaping was updated.
  • New underground drainage and sewer systems were installed.
  • New walkways were added.
  • An access path off of Richland Avenue was created for emergency vehicles.
  • Student rooms in James Hall were treated to updated cabinetry and woodwork.


On East Green:

  • Improvements were made to Jefferson Hill, which is now one-way traffic accessible.
  • The residential and dining entrances of Shively received a fresh coat of paint.
  • Fresh grass has replaced the aging barberry and yew bushes on the north side of Jefferson Hall.


Bush Hall: “The other side of the table”

East Green will soon be home to the next fully renovated residence building – Bush Hall. Through my internship, I had the unique opportunity of experiencing firsthand the interviewing and selection process of an architect for the renovation.

Valued at $8 million, the renovation was subject to a public bid, per state law. Each firm submitted renovation proposals and reports to the university, and several were selected to visit the university to deliver a formal presentation.

As a College of Business student who recently completed the business cluster, being a part of the selection process allowed me to sit on “the other side of the table,” receiving and analyzing, rather than delivering information.

During the question and answer segments, I communicated student preferences to each architectural firm – contemporary living spaces with bright colored walls and ample lighting in hallways, living quarters and bathrooms.

I gathered each firm was pleased to receive the feedback of a student. After all, we are their target audience.


Bromley Hall: “An eye for efficiency”


Bromley Hall saw renovations to most student rooms and bathrooms on the building’s north side this past summer.
   
At the building’s weekly construction meeting, I sat alongside contractors representing electrical, plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), and general operations.

I also had an opportunity to tour the construction site with Trace and Christine Sheets, executive director of Residential Housing.

Entering the residence hall, I was greeted by floor coverings and a chalky texture in the air – the telltale signs of construction. As we made our way up to the ninth floor of Bromley, I was stunned to be able to see all the way through to the other side of the building from my post in a student room.

Sheets explained that the various contractors rotate throughout the building to achieve maximum efficiency, starting with demolition on the top floors and working down.

Prior to my experience with Residential Housing, I had never given much thought to construction projects on campus or the vast amount of planning required prior to each renovation. Through my experiences with Residential Housing, I have gained a better understanding of the intricacies that each development project requires.