The loud crashes and resounding rattling of jackhammers being used to construct the parking garage of the soon-to-be built ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance have made living next to a construction site familiar to residents of the Greylock Quad. Construction began on the three-story, 385-foot long parking garage in April of 2002, but despite hard work on all sides, will be finished approximately a month past schedule.
According to Bruce Decoteau, project manager, the project began on time and was supposed to be finished by the end of October or early November. Now, he says, the garage will be complete by the end of November or early Dec.
Decoteau said the reasons for the delay lie in the poor weather conditions of the early spring. “The rain and muddy conditions really slowed the progress down early on and the heat wave mid-summer also hurt productivity,” he said.
Still, Decoteau said the construction firm Barr and Barr and the building crews worked very hard to keep the project moving at a good pace.
“I really don’t think that this project is taking a long time,” he said. “Actually this was a very aggressive schedule to put this amount of work in place in eight months.”
The parking garage was to be either a one or three level structure. According to Cappy Hill, provost of the College, a three level structure was chosen because “otherwise we would have had to blacktop a much larger area.”
Still, some students feel that the construction has been going on for too long, especially since they will not be able to take advantage of the lot. “I’m upset that it was supposed to be done in the beginning of November, but is still going on,” Elena Bonfacio ’05, a resident of Carter said. “[Also,] we can’t even park in it or in the Greylock lot.”
According to Hill, the lot will be mostly for faculty and staff use. “The parking garage will be used in the long run primarily by faculty and staff during the days and by people attending events in the evenings and on the weekends.”
However, there remains a possiblity that students may be able to use the completed parking garage in the short term; last week, College Council (CC) approved a letter to be sent to security requesting parking privileges for students in the garage, once it is completed, until the end of the school year. CC members reasoned since the garage will not be needed for performances until the theater complex is finished, the spots will remain at least partially unused.
Many have wondered whether the delays in the lot construction will prolong effect on the construction of the new ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance. Decoteau adamantly denied such a possibility and said the setback will have “no impact whatsoever” on the larger project. “We have actually already begun the initial work required to get the Theatre construction underway,” Decoteau said. “Site utility relocations and electrical infrastructure upgrades will commence in December.”
He also said major construction for the center will begin in the early spring, right on schedule.
As for the parking garage, despite some student concerns, Hill and Decoteau are quite happy with the timing of the final product.
“I don’t really view the month or so that we missed our initial schedule by as a delay,” said Decoteau, “but more as a realization that you can’t fight Mother Nature.”