Tag Archives: facilities

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.”

Mold Causes Some Departments to Relocate Once Again

At the end of March, the theology, psychology and philosophy departments, who recently moved out of Campion Hall due to renovations, were asked to vacate their offices again, but this time due to the presence of mold within the partitioning office walls.

During the renovation of Campion Hall, the theology, psychology and philosophy departments were moved into portable buildings, serving as both classrooms and offices on Welch Field. The departments moved into their temporary spaces in mid- January.

The Rev. James T. Bretzke, S.J., theology chair, said that Facilities Management asked the departments to evacuate immediately taking only essentials. Glenn Loomis, the assistant vice president of Facilities Management, reported that the mold was discovered after Environmental Safety sent a sample of one of the portables’ walls to an independent lab for analysis.

Within the same day of testing, Facilities Management contacted the departments who were using the portables as offices to vacate their offices. Fortunately for the psychology department, only one of their two portables tested positive for mold. However, the theology and philosophy departments found themselves temporarily homeless.

The test that confirmed the presence of mold was the last of three tests that were performed over a two-week period. Bretzke reported that he and the theology department program assistant had been having “bad sinus headaches” and other health related issues after spending extended amounts of time in their offices. Bretzke addressed his concerns to Facilities who performed an air quality test that came out negative. However, the headaches and health problems persisted, and Facilities performed another test on the moisture in the walls. This test also suggested that everything was fine.

Bretzke said that after the testing, Facilities told him that perhaps the headaches “were an allergic reaction from the trees outside or they were stress related and that [I] should work out more.” However, after the walls were peeled back revealing black mold within, and it was evident that Bretzke’s complaints were not psychosomatic.

Facilities immediately hired movers to store all of the office equipment in the Maraschi room by April 5.

The mold outbreak most likely resulted from the installation of wet lumber when partition walls were installed into the portables. Loomis reported that when the portable building company, Mobile Modular, built office walls into the portables they had left their lumber out in the rain and had not allowed the wood to dry before installation. Loomis also said that Mobile Modular would be charged with fixing the mold problem and with the cost of hiring movers for removing all the office equipment.

For now, most of the faculty from the theology and philosophy departments are still without personal office space. However, program information and faculty members can still be reached through the program assistants on the fourth floor of Gleeson Library or by email.