Campus Construction - Denison University
July 02, 2002

By Staff
Appeared in Denison University Construction Update

Denison University has embarked on its most ambitious construction program in more than a quarter century, with work commencing on a new "Campus Common" to be framed by the new state-of-the-art Samson Talbot Hall of Biological Science and the new Burton D. Morgan Center for student, faculty and alumni-related activities. About four acres of new usable real estate are being created atop College Hill, to the north of the present Academic Quadrangle. Beneath the new Common will be an underground parking facility for some 300-plus cars. Total anticipated cost for the project is $59,750,000, a figure approved by the Denison Board of Trustees at their 2001 winter meeting. Construction will take about three years and will include significant upgrades to campus roads and related infrastructures, and improving pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns.

The two new buildings will define the Campus Common at its east and west ends. The Burton D. Morgan Center to the east will provide a new point of entry for campus visitors and will house a variety of academic and administrative functions, including: a host of technology-rich classrooms and seminar spaces; a high-tech video-conferencing amphitheater; the Organizational Studies program; the Office of Career Services; a faculty lounge; and offices for Alumni Affairs, University Resources and Public Affairs. It will be physically linked to both nearby Knapp Hall and the new underground parking facility beneath the Common.

At the western edge of the Common, Samson Talbot Hall will be built to take over the functions currently housed in Higley Hall, a building erected in 1941 when biology, as both a discipline and an academic department at the College, was much smaller. The new space will provide greatly expanded facilities that reflect advances in molecular biology and biochemistry.

Between the two buildings will be the new Common, a centrally located open greenspace of about two acres. Other Denison buildings on the Academic Quadrangle will have views onto this space, while the Common itself will offer a transition to the north slope of College Hill, giving access to the downhill athletics and recreation facilities.

This building project is part of an overall Campus Master Plan created in 1999 by the firm of Graham Gund Architects of Cambridge, Mass. That plan is the latest revision of campus planning documents dating back to the early 1900s, when Denison first retained Frederick Law Olmsted & Sons, landscape architects and designers of New York City's Central Park.

Construction Update: July, 2002

Campus Common

Construction projects are continuing as through the summer. The Campus Common project has moved from excavation work, infrastructure placement, foundation work and structural steel placement to interior reinforcement and building enclosures.

Work on the Campus Common retaining walls to the north of the Academic Quadrangle was finished, and digging for the underground parking facility is complete.

Excavation for the new North Road extension north of the Campus Common is also complete, and the elevation of the Common's northern perimeter has been built up around the new Common area.

Concrete foundation work has been completed for Talbot Hall and the Morgan Center, and structural steel has being erected for both buildings. Exterior masonry is expected to begin shortly, and it is anticipated that the buildings will be "weather-tight" by the end of the fall so that the interior work can continue through the winter.

Reinforced concrete interior support walls for the parking facility beneath the Campus Common area have been poured, and construction of the upper parking decks is being completed.

Temporary work-site contractor offices and trailers remain on the hill west of Piper Stadium to stage work on the Campus Common project.

Summer Projects

The University is continuing work on some summer campus improvement projects this month.

The most noticeable projects are the widening of North Road behind Beth Eden, Swasey Chapel and Gilpatrick House (for eventual two-way traffic between the Academic Quad and East Quad), and improving the "hairpin" turn at Sawyer Hall (when approaching from the Mitchell Center). Pedestrian crosswalks and steps from the East Quad to Mitchell are also being installed.

Through the remainder of the summer, utility work on North Road behind Swasey Chapel and on Sunset Hill behind Curtis Hall will continue. North Road will remain closed through the summer months, but traffic is being maintained behind the West Quad.

Underground electrical work on the East Quad is nearly finished. Setting equipment and pulling wires through the new underground conduits and digging behind the Physical Education Center will occur through the end of the month. The new underground service should be operational this month, and the external overhead lines will be removed as summer work continues. Very limited scheduled power outages may occur in coming weeks as the new system is brought on line.

New water mains are being installed, starting inside the Campus Common construction area, then moving east. There will be limited digging in the vicinity of the Swasey Chapel parking lot and Gilpatrick House. Traffic and access will be maintained.

Placement of fill and paving for intersection improvement near Sawyer and Beaver Halls is continuing. Contractors are raising the grade to allow the installation of the new steam service and road improvements during the summer.

Upon completion of the East Quad improvements, all utilities will reside underground, and old exposed wires and plumbing will be removed. There will be new and efficient high-voltage electrical service serving the campus, and the 45-year-old above-ground steam system will be updated and buried. A new 12-inch water main will provide improved water pressure to the East Quad. Sidewalks will run from Beaver Hall to Knapp Hall, the vehicle entrance and exit to the chapel parking lot will be improved, and the road from Beaver to Knapp will be two-way (although a section of it may remain one-way to allow for on-street parking through next year). The intersection at Sawyer and Beaver will be improved and traffic coming from the Mitchell Center will approach the East Quad at a more negotiable angle.

The remaining utility work this summer near the West Quad will be limited to the vicinity of the water towers behind Curtis Dining Hall.

Other summer improvement projects include significant interior renovations of Curtis East and Stone Halls. Curtis East will receive general and bathroom renovations, while Stone is slated for window replacement, as well as kitchen and bath upgrades. Traffic in both areas will be maintained, but occasional tie-ups my be experienced as trucks and other equipment move in and out.

In order to finish the East Quad utility upgrades, North Road from Beth Eden to Beaver Hall will be closed most of the summer, but access to Swasey Chapel will be maintained. Ridge Road (running south of Swasey Chapel, Swasey Observatory and Colwell House) will have two-way traffic this summer and on-street parking will be eliminated until students return in August.

There will also be numerous other small renovation and maintenance projects across the campus. It will be another busy and congested summer. Please watch for construction traffic and pedestrians in areas where they wouldn't normally be. Thank you for your cooperation and patience as we work to improve the campus.

Building Status Reports

Samson Talbot Hall of Biological Science
Final construction specifications and drawings have been issued.
Concrete and structural drawings have been issued.
Final construction specifications have been issued.
Foundations are complete.
Steel framing is complete.
Exterior masonry will begin soon.

Burton D. Morgan Center
Concrete and steel work have been bid.
Foundations are complete.
Steel framing is being completed.

Underground Parking Facility (underneath new Campus Common)
Construction specifications and drawings are complete.
Foundation work is complete.
Structural concrete work has begun.
Support walls are finished and parking decks are being poured.

Project Architects and Contractors
Project architect for Denison's Campus Common Construction is:
Graham Gund Architects, Cambridge, Mass.

Structural engineer is:
LeMessurier Consultants, Cambridge, Mass.

Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing engineer is:
Syska Hennessy Group, Cambridge, Mass.

Lab design consultant is:
Research Facilities Design, San Diego, Calif.

Landscape architect is:
David Berarducci Landscape Architecture, Boston, Mass.

Construction manager is:
Albert M. Higley Company, Cleveland.

Construction subcontractors include:
CHC Fabricating, Cincinnati - Miscellaneous Steel
Edwards Steel, Columbus - Miscellaneous Steel
Jess Howard Electric Company, Blacklick, Ohio - Electrical
Kel-Par Company, Newark, Ohio - Underground mechanical
Law Construction, St. Louisville, Ohio - Site earthwork
Lithko Contracting, Inc., Plain City, Ohio - Concrete
Ohio Steel Industries, Inc., Summit Station, Ohio - Steel
Otis Elevator, Columbus - Elevators
S.A. Comunal, Columbus - Fire protection
Schnabel Foundation Company, Cary, Ill. - Retaining wall
Speer Mechanical, Columbus - Mechanical and plumbing
Superior Electric, Columbus - Electrical

Work out to bid includes:
Windows and glass (currently under review), carpentry trades, drywall.