By Victoria Leenders-Cheng
The massive, $6.8-million reconstruction of the pedestrian walkway and terrace of the McLennan and Redpath Libraries enters its third and final phase during the week of June 3. The work, begun in June 2011 to address major water damage and infiltration accumulated over the past two decades, has followed a summer-only schedule to minimize disruption to the regular academic year.
“When the terrace was built in the 1950s, it was done using 1950’s technology,” explains Robert Stanley, Director Project Management, Facilities Operations and Development (University Services). “To use modern drainage technology, we need to increase the thickness of the exterior level of the terrace to separate the drainage plane from the roof insulation plane.”
Phase 1 of the project, in summer 2011, rebuilt the passageway connecting the two libraries – notably eliminating a three-step dip in the walkway and flattening out the path. Phase 2, in summer 2012, saw the reconstruction of the southern half of the terrace (including a new waterproofing membrane, an underground storm-water retention tank, and new benches and guard rails). Summer 2013 will see the northern half of the terrace getting the same treatment.
Work will take place between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., with heavy drilling concentrated between 7 and 10 a.m. The Library will only be accessible through the main McLennan entrance throughout the course of the project.
The work on the terrace should be completed by October 2013, Stanley says, adding that the Phase 2 portion, completed last year, already gives passersby a sense of the new space. “There is a new guard rail that is visible and we will be rearranging the seating in the area so that people have a greater opportunity to sit.”
“The old granite stones used as railings have been recycled and polished to provide for sitting area throughout the terrace,” explains Facilities Operations and Development, University Services Executive Director Ron Proulx. With the completion of Phase 3 this year, he adds, “the renovation of the terrace will provide students and staff with a beautiful reading garden, with plants native to Canada and an unobstructed view of the campus.”
Library asbestos abatement and lighting retrofit
Also throughout the summer, the Redpath Library Building will go through asbestos abatement work, which will result in the sealing off of the main entrance, hallways and surrounding group study areas. The “Fishbowl,” new group study zone, e-classroom and Writing Centre will not be affected.
Besides the aesthetic and structural improvements, the work at the Library this summer includes LED lighting and sensor retrofits, in keeping with campus-wide initiatives to reduce energy consumption. The retrofit project will also install motion and sound sensors, so that lights in certain areas, such as group study spaces and the stacks, will automatically turn on when the space is in use and turn off when it is not.
Construction work on Engineering buildings
Work continues on the other side of the downtown campus, as well, with a new roof already installed on the Macdonald Stewart Library earlier this spring and one scheduled to go up on the 106 year-old MacDonald Engineering Building this summer.
The impact of this work will be similar to that of last summer, says Stanley. “The area at the base of the buildings will be obstructed occasionally when the contractor schedules cranes or materials delivery.
“Work on both buildings should be completed by the end of July,” he adds.