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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Construction progresses on track

Published: October 14, 2011
Section: Front Page

With work zones marked all across campus, it is hard not to notice the several construction projects, which have been happening all around Brandeis during the first few weeks of the semester. These projects have included regular campus maintenance and upkeep initiatives, along with more high profile ones—including the much-awaited work on the Linsey pool, expected to re-open this spring.

The university’s schedule for renovation of the Linsey pool is based on its receipt of a certificate of occupancy on Dec. 23, Associate Vice President for Facilities Services Peter Shields said in an interview with The Hoot. “Once the certificate is received from the City of Waltham, we plan on filling the pool with water and completing any last-minute construction details and punch-list items,” he said.

Shields explained that, as the university waits for the certificate, most progress on the project has been focused on abatement work and the demolition of outdated equipment. He said, however, “a new steam pipe for the pool building has been installed, the new HVAC equipment has all been ordered, and we are currently grading an area between Gosman and the pool building to provide an accessible parking area.”

The university has a $3 million budget for renovations to the pool and surrounding areas. Much of this budget will be spent on the facility’s basement, where most of the project’s construction is based and where all mechanical systems are being replaced.

In addition to the mechanical systems replacement, the university plans to add new life-safety systems, new lighting and improved acoustic treatment to reduce echo in the pool area. Also, this project will include an upgrade to locker rooms and general aesthetic improvements to the facility’s main entrance and lobbies.

Brandeis hired Commodore Builders to work on the pool. According to Shields, the firm is doing well and “applying at Brandeis the experience they gained by renovating the pool at Brown University.”

Shields says that, in addition to regular meetings to make sure that the project is on the right track, “the Facilities Department meets weekly to review construction activity on the pool” and, if everything continues on schedule, the pool is expected to open to students Jan. 17—the first day of the spring semester. The pool will also allow for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs to resume for the 2012-13 season, with Mike Kotch as their new head coach.

Though the work on the Linsey pool is the most talked about renovation occurring on campus, it is by no means the only project happening. In addition to several other campus maintenance initiatives—including re-paved walkways across campus—last week, another construction site on campus popped up between the Shapiro Campus Center and Bernstein-Marcus buildings. Though this project is now complete and construction activity is over, this project in Fellows Gardens was related to a leaking steam line.

“Brandeis is heated by the power plant on South Street where steam is created for use throughout the campus.” As the pipes used for distribution age, they tend to develop leaks, which allow pressurized steam to escape into the soil, Shields explained. “Once a leak is detected, we hire contractors to excavate and expose the pipe, which then allows us to patch or replace sections of the pipe—hopefully before heating season!”