Officials prepare for renovations to Kilgo Quadrangle

If things go as administrators hope, about half of the dusty 70-year-old Kilgo Quadrangle will be as good as new before students return from summer vacation.

But Judith White, assistant vice president and director of the residential program review, said it is going to take a lot of hard work--and some good luck--to complete all the renovations in houses K, L and M by Aug. 10.

"With 75-year-old buildings with a little bit of renovations throughout the years, there are bound to be surprises. You won't know what will be inside any given wall until you actually open it up," White said, adding, "You can't be a little bit late with a dormitory. Either the students move in or they don't move in."

During the process, officials will replaster and repaint walls and ceilings in addition to installing air-conditioning, new carpets and wider doors. The University tentatively plans to renovate the remaining five houses in Kilgo quad during summer 2003, in addition to modifying Crowell, Craven and maybe Few quads in the next four years.

"If we get in there and find surprises and find there are more difficulties, we will have to reconsider whether we can do that," White said.

"The worst-case scenario is that we can only do three houses [in 2003], which would mean we would have to go until the next summer.... I don't think we are going to want to be doing this for the next decade," she said.

Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta said he was not too concerned about the Kilgo project dragging on. "There's nothing magical about getting this all done in four years and if it'll take five years, so be it," he wrote in an e-mail.

To make sure the first phase of renovations goes according to schedule, White said she has tried to give herself more "wiggle room" by asking residents of House K, which houses Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, to move out immediately after exam week or store their belongings during the week before graduation.

She explained that ATO was being "picked on" because it was the only house with an unoccupied basement that could be used to house the new air conditioning system. Over the next few weeks, workers will begin enlarging the House K commons room and will install a lift that will make the dorm handicap-accessible, White said.

Jon Ferris, ATO president, said Housing Management and the Office of Student Development have been working with the house all semester.

"It's obviously not ideal, but they knew we were going to be frustrated and they've done everything to help us," Ferris said, adding that the University has paid to store students' boxes and found rooms around campus to house them during the week after exams.

White said one of the biggest practical challenges to completing the renovations is the chore of removing used equipment from the buildings and then bringing new supplies in. To do that, the contractors will set up an elaborate scaffolding so trash can be removed through windows, thereby allowing doors to be used solely for the incoming flow.

There have already been some surprises and oversights that the team has had to correct, White said. For example, she said she was initially going to use a single, more efficient air conditioning system, but decided on two smaller systems after learning that the single system would force room ceiling to be too low.

"It's decreased the cost," she said, "but it's slightly less energy-efficient in the long haul."


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