Campus housing 'fixer-uppers' to happen over summer break

By Kaitlin Yap | April 12, 2017 10:01am
by Kristen Gacia / The Beacon

Some of the University's residence halls will be touched up over the summer. These projects will all take a significant amount of time and money, meaning some dorm buildings will be “offline” for several months, according to Director of Facilities Planning and Construction Paul Luty.

Director and Associate Director of Residence Life, Chris Haug and Kerry Day, shared the details of these projects:

Mehling Hall:

Mehling Hall is being seismically retrofitted, meaning it is being equipped to avoid collapsing if an earthquake were to occur. Built in 1964, the technology didn’t yet exist to prepare the building to withstand such a natural disaster.

Haug said this has been a work in progress, since it is such an expensive project and cannot be done all at once. Crews completed the exterior work this past Christmas Break and will be moving onto interior work this summer. The original, built-in furniture will be removed from every room on the first floor in order to be properly retrofitted and replaced with movable furniture that other dorms, such as Corrado and Fields and Schoenfeldt, have.

Shipstad Hall:

Shipstad turns fifty this year, and for its birthday, its iconic 1960s kitchen in the basement will be receiving a complete renovation. Just like Mehling celebrated its big “five-oh” with restored study rooms, Shipstad also gets to have a birthday “facelift,” Haug said.

“If you’ve seen any of our new halls’ kitchens, you can see the excellent work that can be done,” Day said.

Day and Haug predict the new kitchen will be ready to go for the incoming residents this coming fall.

Kenna Hall:

Asbestos found in doors and pipe linings will be removed from Kenna Hall.

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that can be woven into fabrics and used both for insulation and fire-resistance. Known for its health risks — including pulmonary fibrosis, lung disease and lung cancer — the material is now rarely used in construction.

“Any building that was built before 1980 has asbestos unless it’s been removed, which is an expensive project anywhere you go for college,” Day said.

Asbestos is only unsafe if it is exposed — for example, if a wall with asbestos has been broken. Haug and Day stressed that the University of Portland does not have exposed asbestos.

“If any time (exposed asbestos) does happen, if it happens, that is ours and any university’s commitment to take care of completely,” Day said.

The corner rooms, which are covered with asbestos insulation, will receive new piping, tiling and flooring and new built in furniture.

All the doors in the Kenna Hall will be replaced, along with adding new carpets in the hallways.

Crews will also add signage with braille, like those found in the newer buildings on campus.

Tyson Hall:

Tyson is scheduled to receive a deep cleaning over Summer Break.

Christie Hall:

Christie Hall is having exterior work done, particularly on the ground so as to prevent water damage. Currently, the ground area slopes inward towards the building, making it possible for water to seep in through windows and into the basement. They are currently working on reconstructing the drainage system around hall.

Villa Maria Hall:

Renovations will be done on the St. Joseph Chapel, located in Villa Hall. Haug and Day acknowledged that these updates aren’t ones that students will take immediate notice of.

“(We have to) first tackle things that take a lot of money and have to get done, then we can do the fun things that students will get really excited about,” Day said.

“The work is still happening, and I bet students don’t even realize that we’re making upgrades to these buildings,” Haug said.

As Kenna, Mehling and Shipstad halls are undergoing construction over the summer, Corrado Hall will be available for undergraduates living on campus during the first summer session and Lund Family Hall for the second summer session. Haggerty will open for graduate students, and all other available halls will be utilized for events, camps and conferences.