After delayed start, HUB project almost done

By Rachel Batdorff

Students will soon see the finished product of another Huntington Student Union Building renovation. The construction of a new elevator is nearing completion after missing its original finish deadline for summer 2012. The project’s start date was pushed back and work did not begin until October 2012.

A Fetters construction worker prepares the drywall before it is painted. (Photo by Rachel Batdorff)

“It’s a real elevator, not a chair lift,” Jerry Gressley, director of physical plant and maintenance, said. “It will be the exact same size as the one in Becker Hall, and the same brand and kind. The only difference is it won’t travel as far.”

KONE is the manufacturer and installer of the estimated $85,000 project. Fetters Construction is performing the construction work, which includes demolishing walls, Gressley said.

“The money was designated from Sodexo when we renovated upstairs the year before in the snack bar adding Pandini and SubConnection,” Gressley said. “The elevator was something Sodexo wanted badly to transport supplies, but we also wanted it to provide everyone accessibility to get to the second floor.”

Julie Hendryx, interim vice president for business and finance, said the addition of the elevator would make Norm’s Place more accessible.

“It will leave all dining meal options available with reliable access for all students,” she said.

The project has encountered many snags along the way.

“We had to deal with a lot of local building codes and state building codes,” Gressley said. “Since we took a stairway out of the building where we put the elevator in, we had to improve the exit area and the deck’s steps since it became the second means of exit from the upper level.”

The deck had to be reinforced, hand railing had to be raised and all the steps had to be widened and rebuilt, he said.

Gressley said the project should be completed in about a week.

“This is an improvement we’ve been wanting to do for years,” he said. “It’s an improvement everyone on campus agreed on. The chairlift was not dependable and was constantly breaking down.”

Gressley said they can begin using the elevator once the state inspects and approves the new addition.

“I think it’s a great idea,” sophomore Mary Whybrew said. “It will help students with injuries such as broken legs, [those] recovering from surgery and those who struggle with stairs be able to enjoy the HUB just as much as everyone else.”

The elevator is not the only modification. Hendryx said they are planning more renovations for the HUB.

“The carpet, the upholstered furniture, the painting and the sound system remain on the list for that area,” she said. “With respect to other modifications to the HUB, time will tell.”

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