Construction and Renovation Continues Amidst Weather Setbacks

Demolition of Young Ballroom

PHOTO | Denzil Navolt

Winter weather has caused thousands of dollars in damages around Arkansas Tech University. However, all major construction projects continue.

Thirteen buildings received noteworthy damage, and seven of those buildings suffered significant enough damage for the university to file for an insurance claim. Vice President of Administration and Finance, Laury A. Fiorello, authorized $250,000 in repair funds.

Several locations frequented by the student body were affected. This included Corley, Witherspoon, McEver, Hull, Dean and the Post Office.

Corley has a frozen and ruptured water heating supply pipe. Witherspoon’s heating and air systems require renovations due to a damaged HVAC coil. Hull, Dean and the Post Office had plumbing issues with frozen and ruptured pipes.

“The cleanup process of Young has been slightly delayed due to weather-related issues,” Director of Business Services, Jessica Holloway, said. However, the overall process is still moving faster than expected, with the on-site operator and driver, Kyle Holland, saying the demolition will likely be finished within the week.

The site of the Young building will be home to the new student union and recreation center.

Cunningham Metals will begin collecting the concrete for repurposing at no charge to the university, a process that Holland said was a “win-win for everyone involved.”

Kinco Constructors was selected to manage the project during the Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 19.

Although a general contractor has yet to be selected, the bulk of the physical work is set to begin over the 2023 summer break, according to Director of Facilities Management, Drew Dickey. Construction of a new campus entrance is set to begin alongside this project.

While the cold weather slowed progress on the Jones Hall renovation, shipping has found itself to be a greater hinderance, with a delayed concrete shipment keeping the construction crew waiting for over a month.

Superintendent Michael Harrison said they’ve managed to reinstall the walls and electricity, and according to him, the project should be done in roughly six months.

Over the past three months, Jones has been gutted, remodeled, and rewired. Facilities Management said the Hall should be operational sometime prior to the 2025 spring semester.

Tucker Coliseum was unmarred by the inclement weather but is still scheduled for roof work. This, paired with past renovations, hope to lessen the work needed to maintain the building in the future.

Construction at Caraway has continued without much incident despite the winter weather. Contract work on exterior improvements and roof repair must be completed by May. However, Dickey is filing for an extension in March.

McEver’s roof repairs were scheduled to be finished by March 31. Due to the weather conditions, Dickey confirmed there will likely be a few weeks’ extension. McEver lab renovations will continue through 2025.

Other than a frozen and ruptured drinking fountain, there have been some unforeseen complications with the Hull Hall renovation project. Extra construction components will cost the university an additional $25,000.