Duquesne University has scheduled major construction projects, repairs and upgrades this summer that will make the campus more comfortable and attractive as well safer and more energy efficient.
The most extensive of the projects is the completion of Des Places Hall. At the start of the fall semester—just 18 months since demolition began on old Des Places Hall—the 12-story residence hall will be ready for occupancy. In upcoming weeks, the finishing touches, including new furniture and carpet will be put in place, and all landscaping will have been completed. This new building will join the Power Center as a LEED-certified structure.
During construction of Des Places Hall, McCloskey Field served as a makeshift lot for construction vehicles and the site where mounds of brick, stone and concrete from the old Des Places building was crushed for use in building the new residence hall. McCloskey Field will be resurfaced and a three-lane walking track will encircle the perimeter of the field.
Duquesne Towers is getting a two-story addition that will house a convenience store on the first floor and additional seating for the Sean Hogan Dining Center on the second. The new seating area can be closed off from the main dining area for private functions. In addition, diners this fall will not miss the redesigned floor plan, new décor and revamped menu, featuring fresh produce and made-to-order dishes. An open kitchen will provide a clear view of meals being prepared, and a Mongolian grill will let students select the raw ingredients for cooks to custom stir-fry.
Across campus, a number of projects will keep workers busy installing new furniture and flooring, performing upgrades to heating, ventilation and plumbing systems, and, in a number of cases, completely remodeling restrooms in residence halls and other buildings. The public restrooms on the first floor of the Administration Building will have fixtures and tiling that impart a contemporary look and will be upgraded to conform to the latest federal standards for accessibility based on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Improved learning environments are also in store. Libermann Hall will have a new lecture hall with seating for 128 students as well as several smaller classrooms on its sixth floor, while Mellon Hall classrooms and laboratories will also undergo extensive renovations.
Each of these projects will produce noticeable change, but the results of some summertime projects will be less obvious. The rear of Fisher Hall will have all 136 windows replaced; Seitz Street will be resurfaced; the A.J. Palumbo Center will get new flat and gabled roofs; Mellon Hall will sport new black paint; and four floors of parking spaces in Forbes Garage will be pressure-washed, patched, waterproofed and restriped.
A number of improvements will be completed for the safety and welfare of the campus community. The Union will be outfitted with doors that can be locked electronically from a central location. Libermann Hall will have a new fire alarm system and a fire command center, a secure room near the building entrance that can provide fire or safety personnel complete control of the building’s alarms, elevators, power supply and other critical factors during emergencies.
Lower energy consumption will result from some of the improvements. The glare-producing, metal-halide lights in the Palumbo Center’s gym will be replaced by cool fluorescent fixtures that consume less electricity and turn on immediately, unlike the halide bulbs, which buzz and remain dim until warmed up. The lower energy demand of the fluorescent bulbs will make the University eligible for a utility rebate.
Other projects will result in increased comfort along with lower energy consumption. The Union is undergoing the final phase of a complete upgrade of its HVAC system, and Laval House will soon have a central-air cooling system that will render its inefficient window-mounted air conditioning units obsolete.
Though the list of improvements is long, the work will be completed on time, according to Mark Minoski, interim director of design and construction for facilities management.
“Every project manager and maintenance supervisor will be busy monitoring the 70-plus projects this summer to make sure they are completed in time for the start of the fall semester,” said Minoski.