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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Old Main construction still in progress

    Construction at Old Main continues as the first floor is renovated due to mechanical problems.
    Construction at Old Main continues as the first floor is renovated due to mechanical problems.

    The construction and renovation being done at Old Main, the UA’s oldest building, will take a little longer to complete than
    originally expected.

    The construction is expected to be complete at the start of next semester, rather than at the end of November, said Chris Kraft, facilities project manager.

    Kraft said that he was “”dismayed but not surprised”” by the extra time needed, as Old Man “”had lots of hidden conditions.”” The historic building, which opened in 1891, had old sewer lines and electrical and mechanical systems that needed to replaced or repaired.

    “”We assumed it would be satisfactory,”” Kraft said.

    The last work done on the building was in the 1980s, said Melissa Dryden, senior program coordinator.

    “”You can’t always see everything until you start doing demolition,”” she said, but “”everyone understands the importance of taking care of it right.””

    The construction poses a problem when she conducts walking tours around campus for potential students and UA visitors, said Variatee Montgomery, a nutritional sciences senior and UA Ambassador.

    “”Ideally, you want to walk them through the building, and show them the fountain,”” Montgomery said. “”It’s unfortunate to say it’s under construction.””

    The project’s budget increased in December to a projected $4.6 million from around $3.25 million, according to the Facilities Design and Construction Web site.

    The extension will not require any budget increases, Kraft said, adding that the project was designed with contingencies in mind, so there is enough money to cover extra time needed.

    “”You have to assume that there are hidden conditions that need to be addressed,”” he said.

    The work being done is restricted to the first floor so other departments that reside in the building can still function with little or no problem, Dryden said.

    The departments that had been on the first floor were relocated to the Nugent building for the duration of construction, she added. However, now the Office of Admissions is downstairs in the UofA Bookstore, according to the UA Web site.

    Part of the project’s aim is to relocate the Office of Admissions and Orientation Services to the renovated part of the building.

    Orientation Services has already relocated, Kraft said, but Admissions will have to wait until construction is complete.

    “”I’m excited for the new Admissions office,”” Montgomery said. “”It’s a perfect place for starting tours and will be easier for students to find.””

    Dryden said Old Main is worth the extra time to preserve and restore it to its “”original glory.””

    “”It will be the first place students come to see campus,”” she said.

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