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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA Facilities Management works on Mall to avoid future maintenance costs


UA Facilities Management is working to update several areas on campus to prevent future maintenance costs.

In the last few weeks, Facilities Management has been digging up the UA Mall to replace utility lines that run to the front of Old Main. The $800,000 project started May 20 and will be completed by mid-July, with the grass replacement estimated to be finished in the beginning of August before fall semester starts, according to Chris Kopach, assistant vice president of Facilities Management.

The tunnels are approximately 77-years-old and the concrete was beginning to collapse on the utility lines, Kopach said. Without the work, sewers could back up or the air conditioning in some buildings could stop working.

“What we’re trying to do is be real proactive so we don’t have a catastrophic failure in that tunnel,” Kopach said. “And if that tunnel has other utilities in there that we have to work on we want to make sure we’re protecting all the utilities on campus.”

Kopach has talked to several UA department heads in seeking approval for the project. The project should be completed before classes start in August, Kopach added.

Facilities Management may also be installing a new sidewalk on the UA Mall in front of Old Main by fall semester, reducing future maintenance costs of $15,000 to $20,000 previously spent on replacing damaged grass every year.

The brick sidewalk will be in the shape of an “X” with a big circle at the center, and will cost $22,000 for the materials and labor, Kopach said.

Aerial shots of that area of campus show that people typically walk in the “X” pattern where Facilities Management intends to install the sidewalk, said Kathy Adams Riester, associate dean of students.

“I think overall it will probably improve the look of the space,” Adams Riester said. “What happens is the grass looks nice in August and then as soon as people start walking across it and putting things on it … it dies out.”

Some students agreed that a new sidewalk would help keep the grass looking nice throughout the year.

“I think it would be [helpful] because then you’re not just cutting through the grass,” said Heather Weaver, a psychology senior. “It might look kind of weird at first just because that’s going to be the only part of the mall where now there’s sidewalk running through it.”

In order to keep the space functional for programming and events, Adams Riester and Kopach have disscussed installing the brick sidewalk at a similar level as the grass. The newly designed area may also allow for the placement of tables along the sidewalk rather than just along the UA Mall, Adams Riester said.

“The best time to do it is right now when there’s not a lot of students,” Kopach said. “That’s why right after graduation we wanted to get in, get it out plus we wanted to give our time for that grass to take hold so the students can enjoy it.”

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