Campus improvement project to begin this month

2:45:39 PM CDT - Wednesday, July 14, 2004

By Melissa Lacey

Pedestrian and automobile traffic at Wichita State University will be temporarily rerouted as several campus improvement projects are slated to begin this month. By the end of July, three major repair projects will be under way, and each is expected to carry over into the fall semester.

Parking lot No. 19 west of Eck Stadium will be closed for reconstruction later this month. The removal of Bluff Street and several concrete islands between lot No. 19 and lot No. 5 to the west will result in about 60 new parking spaces, said Woody DePontier, director of facility maintenance. The two lots will be joined with a driveway, and lot No. 19 will receive new lighting and a new entrance on Perimeter Road. Lot No. 5 will remain open during the construction, which is expected to be completed in mid- to late September.

The campus entrance at 17th Street and Fairmount Avenue will be closed through late September or early October for street repair. Sections of Fairmount Avenue and sidewalks around the oval island south of the Ulrich Museum will be repaired.

Finally, foot traffic around Jabara and Morrison halls will be rerouted for an extensive underground piping replacement project. The existing steam, chilled water and return lines have been prone to leaks in the past, said DePontier.

New pipes will be buried above the old ones in two phases. First, new lines will be laid from the southeast corner of Jabara Hall to Grace Memorial Chapel. Next, lines will be laid from the chapel to an underground vault south of Morrison Hall.

With pedestrian safety near open trenches in mind, some walking paths will be blocked during each phase of the project, and new paths will be constructed where necessary, said DePontier. The bulk of the piping replacement will be complete by mid-October.

While each of these summer projects will spill over into the fall semester, the intention is to time them when attendance and campus activity are at a minimum, he said.

"We apologize for the inconvenience, but working on these major issues will help us keep the campus taken care of," said DePontier.

Outside contractors will be used on each of the projects.

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