Tag Archives: construction

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Lone Mountain Escalator Installed

After 158 years of anxious anticipation, the Lone Mountain staircase is finally acquiring an escalator.

Students feel that the escalator, which will take students from the bottom of the stairs at Turk Ave. to the base of the Lone Mountain building, should have already been in place a really, really, long time ago.

Some students claim they’ve outsmarted the system by never adding a class located in Lone Mountain to their schedule.

Student Tommy “Salami” Jones says “he ain’t never had a class up that hill.” Jones, 40, is in his tenth year at USF, and is currently enrolled in all electives.

Construction of the escalator will begin in May 2014 and is expected to be finished by May 2015.

During construction, a wooden wall will shelter the escalator, which may contain speakers that play a musical assortment of classical jazz, salsa, 90s rock, and today’s hottest hits. The wall may also be decorated with hanging plants and small banners portraying images of amoebas and crayons.

Although the escalator excitement is causing a buzz around campus, many members of the USF community are still wondering why there are no toilet seat covers in any of the restrooms.

DISCLAIMER: This piece was printed as part of The Foghorn’s April Fool’s Day issue on April 1st, 2014. This article is intended to be satirical.

Summer Construction to Transform Campus

Students returning to USF in fall of 2013 can expect some changes to main campus, including the completion of the John Lo Schiavo, S.J. Center for Science and Innovation (CSI) building, the renovation of the McLaren Conference Center entrance, the renovation of Phelan Hall bathrooms and addition of dorm rooms, as well as some construction updates on the USF downtown campus.

Members of the Facilities Management and Project Management staff held a town hall meeting on campus last Wednesday to inform students, faculty, and neighbors of the construction work going on this summer, and to hear comments and concerns about those plans.

Project Manager J.J. Thorp led the discussion, stating there would be “tremendous change” on campus occurring in the next few months. The university has allocated nearly $11 million to summer construction, according to Michael London, assistant vice president of facilities management. This does not include funds for the completion of the CSI building.

CSI construction, which began in 2007, is set to finish by Aug. 17, hopefully clearing the requirements for the city’s Street Space Occupancy Permit — a permit allowing an organization to temporarily occupy a portion of public roadway or sidewalking for construction — by mid-July. “What that means is we can move in furniture and get classrooms accommodated for teaching this fall,” said Thorp. The summer months of CSI construction include installation of lab space and equipment for science classes, the addition of an outdoor fireplace near the side door of Parina Lounge, and the long-awaited removal of the big, green wall that currently extends from the cafeteria doors to a few feet before the library atrium.

The second big construction plan this summer is the transformation and renovation of the McLaren entrance hall and Phelan Hall dorm rooms, respectively, said Thorp. Planning for the projects began in 2009. The entrance to McLaren Center will be reconstructed in order to fulfill San Francisco Fire Department regulations for fire exits and safety, and to better accommodate the renovations in Phelan dorm rooms and bathrooms occurring in the same building. The lower level of the dorm, which was the former home to Residence Life offices and radio station KUSF, will be remodeled to create 50-52 new dorm rooms and several bathrooms with new plumbing, according to Thorp. The dorm project is set to be completed before students move in the next fall academic year, hopefully by Aug. 10.

As for McLaren, London stated the “fondly called Denny’s wall” — that is, the long glass wall that protrudes from the border of the conference center on the side across the University Center — will be eliminated and replaced with a new, wider entrance that can be used both to access the center and Phelan Hall dorms. The bottom floor of McLaren, where the old bookstore used to be, will be renovated to become new classroom space, creating about five or six new rooms. The project is set to complete by Oct. 5.

The downtown campus, located at 101 Howard Street, will also be renovated, along with the project to demolish and rebuild the temporary modular buildings of Underhill Building on Lone Mountain, where ROTC currently trains.

Main concerns voiced mostly by staff members included questions on the effect construction would have on surrounding neighborhoods and prospective students, as well as the what the consequences for not completing construction before the start of the next academic year would be.

“Construction, by definition, is noisy and dirty,” said Thorp. However, community relations staff Patrick Custer and Elizabeth Miles are doing their best to keep surrounding neighborhoods calm and quiet throughout construction, by keeping construction traffic as far away and contained from the University Terrace neighborhood as possible. The Terrace is the several residential blocks located between main campus and Lone Mountain.

As for the issue of scaring off prospective students with all the construction work, Thorp suggested students could “take a look at all the great work we’re doing! Or just come back in the fall.” Project coordinator Kristy Vivas agreed to the idea of taking small groups of faculty and staff on hard hat tours of construction in order to better describe the end results to prospective and curious students. Other options to view the construction include the overlook on UC 4th floor, or if created, a possible virtual online tour.

Junior business administration student, Wesley Baker, is excited for the CSI building to be completed. “That’ll be the main spot on campus,” said Baker. “It’s really futuristic architecture. It’s inspiring. Have you seen the article? It dips underground.” Baker is referring to an exposed lower level floor to the new CSI building.

Another concern, whether or not the construction will end on time, is a question without answer at the moment. “The university is talking to the city about a lot of different things right now,” said Thorp, cautioning the meeting attendees, “so if there are any wrinkles, this all could be in jeopardy.” If all goes well, next year’s campus will be on a new map.

“What happens at the end will be worth the disruption this summer,” said Thorp, confidently.

CSI Construction on Time, As Usual

For those of us who are returning to USF in Fall of 2013, a new addition to our tight-knit campus awaits: the CSI building. Whether you’re a science major or simply filling your cores, chances are you’ll be frequenting the officially named John Lo Schiavo Center for Science and Innovation.

After almost two years of construction, the building is finally nearing completion. “We are currently on schedule to open for classes in fall of 2013,” said Kristy Vivas, project manager.

As for the most current updates, Vivas reported that the sheetrock is now being mudded and painted. Sheetrock is the paneling used for drywall, meaning that the inside of the building is well underway along with the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing infrastructures. The casework—the cabinets and shelving—have been delivered and are waiting to be installed.

Chemistry majors will be happy to know that the fume hoods have been delivered, as well, so those harmful chemicals will have a home until they are ready to be studied in the new laboratories. Vivas added that the big, looming tower crane on campus is schedule to be off campus by spring break.

Construction Wall Music is Inane

Nearly all of us have noticed it. Most of us pass by it regularly. Some of us even pay attention to it. A group of us can’t stand it—that inane music blaring from the construction speakers on the main campus.

About one and a half years ago, the University of San Francisco began its remodel of the Harney Science Center. Part of the construction process involved setting up a green colored wall around the construction zone decorated with corny posters. Placed into this wall are several speakers which, throughout the day, sound botched amalgams of what would otherwise be decent and humane music in an effort to help distract one from the fact that he/she is near a construction zone.

Legend has it that the placement of the speakers was inspired by construction zones in Disneyland. Hard-hat areas in the theme park were surrounded by decorated walls masking construction, and speakers which bordered the zones played Disney-esque music to cover up construction noise.

USF isn’t Disneyland. There is no Space Mountain, no Mickey Mouse, no cotton candy, and it is definitely not the “happiest place on earth.” I do see, however, where the construction planners may have gotten a little confused: students often times do wear imaginative costumes and boast ironic mustaches in public, rivaling the creativeness even of the animators at Disney. But on to the music…

In my short 21 years of life, never have I heard a version of Antonio Vivalid’s “Four Seasons” which has besmirched this fine classical tune so greatly as the version played through the Harney construction zone speakers.

I can’t say I particularly enjoy listening to classical music blended with mild dance music beats and strange noises. Who actually listens to this? Surely no students; I have never ever heard someone tell me “I listen to a little bit of reggae, some indie…and perverted classical music mixed with awkward dance music.”

The silliest thing about the music, however, is that it does not fulfill its intent —that is, it does nothing to cover up the construction zone. We mustn’t forget the bird and forest noises which sound from the construction speakers. Yes USF, you had me fooled. Behind that construction wall there must be a luscious forest and 37 different kinds of birds. The music does a very poor job of covering up that rather large yellow crane as well. You can see the thing from Twin Peaks; going by current logic, I suppose someone should turn up the volume on those speakers.

I’ll bet much of USF’s community would prefer to see a more transparent construction area rather than one which does a feeble job of hiding itself with awkward music.

Fine Arts Students Beautify Construction Site Green Walls

For some artists, a canvas that spans 700 feet can only be found in reverie. The green walls surrounding USF’s construction site have provided that space.

Over the summer, three students completed the “Urban Tranquility” mural. With help from Fine Arts Professor, Eric Hongisto, Seniors Sofia Gonzales and Katie Kinsey worked an estimated 100 hours to create the illustration. The mural spans on Golden Gate Avenue between the War Memorial Gym and Harney Science Center.

“I wanted to create a calming, yet inviting mural with both an engaging theme and color scheme,” said fine arts major, Sofia Gonzalez.

After being approached by Facilities Management to create art for the walls surrounding the Center for Science and Innovation construction site, Hongisto sought help from his Public Arts class to create the mural. Gonzalez proposed her idea to Facilities Management last spring semester and received approval for the project.

Drawing upon the idea of city and Bay Area wildlife, Gonzalez, Kinsey, and Hongisto created a design that blended in with the surrounding environment of trees, bushes and the beige tinge of the Harney Science Center.

“[The wall] is in nature, so why don’t we expound on that theme? We’re in the state of California, which gives location to new and incoming students,” said Hongisto. The trio did research on color scheming and paid close attention to the hues of buildings, shrubbery, and neighborhood homes that encompass the wall. Donning the mural is scenery of deer, plants and the Golden Gate Bridge in neutral shades of purple, yellow and orange.

While a three-month work period allowed ample time for the project’s completion, the team was greeted with minor inconveniences from San Francisco’s inconsistent summer.

“We spent many cold, foggy summer days hand painting all the curved lines of the landscape silhouette while large trucks passed us every four minutes to enter the construction site,” Gonzalez said. Despite a few disturbances, the group managed to complete the project just in time, painting until the first day of classes.

In addition to the theme “Urban Tranquility,” other Fine Arts students from the Color Theory and Public Art classes completed the period table of undergraduate majors. The table is located on the construction wall facing Gleeson Library.

Within the next two years, Fine Arts students will be creating murals for the walls near War Memorial Gym, Parina Lounge and the main walkway near the Cowell and Kalmanovitz buildings.

One of the design plans includes the creation of a mosaic wall derived from the art of the Alhambra palace and fortress in Granada, Spain.
The wall will also serve as a public posting wall for students. According to Hongisto, all projects will be student-generated. “I would never want to do anything myself. I always want to make sure students are involved. This is a USF process,” he said.

Hongisto is open to student suggestions for mural designs. He extends an invitation to students interested in joining the Public Arts class that will be running for the next two years. Hongisto said, “We’re not trying to change the world with our art. We’re just trying to make this place look better for students for the next two years.”

Student Life Will Be Challenged by Upcoming Closure of Harney Plazaong

There will be a sharply felt side-effect when crews begin building the new Center for Science and Innovation in the heart of the main campus. When construction barriers are erected at the end of this semester, Harney Plaza, which currently serves as the university’s quad, will be out of commission for at least one year.

It can be easy to dismiss the overhaul of Harney Plaza as another run-of-the-mill logistics challenge common to other capital improvements that have taken place at USF. Earlier in the year, for example, we reported the progress of University Center renovations. In these instances, we covered the challenges and, for the most part, minor inconveniences posed by construction work.

But whatever the impact on the student population these other renovations may have, none will have such an affect on the quality of student life as the closure of Harney Plaza.

On any given day with decent weather, Harney Plaza is a hub of campus life. Over the course of a typical semester, the plaza takes on the roles of student forum, impromptu stage, recreation area, event area, demonstration space, flea market, farmers market, and lunch seating. For all the recent worthwhile efforts to increase student breakout space across campus, only a few of these spaces approach the visibility and the capacity for the high level of traffic that Harney Plaza hosts daily.

As Harney prepares to undergo major construction work, plans call for the transfer the plaza’s functions to the lawn fronting Gleeson Library; this is an important accommodation. This does not mean, however, that student involvement is invulnerable to decline. Restricting and relocating the long-assumed center of student life after decades of continual use is sure to have a disorienting and displacing effect on the student population. With that in mind, and in our consistently stated interest of keeping the undergraduate voice strong, vibrant and visible, we want to emphasize the following:

First, the new plaza in front of Gleeson must become a reality. It is our job to communicate that the need for this space is a top priority, and not an afterthought in the scheme of the USF’s capital improvements.

Second, the new plaza must be visible and have as many of the capabilities of the current Harney Plaza as possible. While we cannot expect a replica of Harney, it should be sizable and demarcated by some defining features; it should not simply be the existing, unaltered grass expanse to which student events can be shunted aside. As the new focus of student life, the plaza needs to be maintained as the campus’ focus, not just as another lawn.

This last point is the most important and rests on the initiative of the student body: Use the space. Walk by it, sunbathe, eat lunch, put on a concert, read a book; the goal is to just keep it populated. Ultimately, how well the undergraduate population maintains the consistency of its institutions depends largely on how it negotiates these transitional years of large and frequent campus makeovers. These things must be kept in mind when plywood walls encase what will formerly be known as Harney Plaza on May 24.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Opinion Editor: Vincent Patino