Cornell Ag Quad Rehabilitation Construction Update, 9/2016

28 09 2016

Kinda outside the normal coverage, but an important project nevertheless. Cornell is currently undertaking a major rehabilitation of the CALS Quadrangle, better known as the “Ag Quad”. The $9.6 million “Ag Quad Utility Infrastructure Upgrades and Landscape Revitalization Project” (originally $7.8 million) began during the summer, and is scheduled for a completion before the 2017-18 academic year. Most of the construction is planned during the summer months of 2016 and 2017, when the ground is easier to work with and impact on campus activities is at a minimum.

According to university landscape architect David Cutter, the work has planned for at least a decade, but was a lower priority vs. other projects such as the Mann Library and Warren Hall renovations, which used the quad as a staging area. With the bulk of building renovations complete (a new academic building on the south side of the quad, but it’s just a hazy concept at this time), and with infrastructure approaching 100 years old, the university decided now was as good a time as any to get the rehab underway. Plans were approved by the Ithaca city Planning Board in February.

The first phase is what’s underway now. That involves the replacement of underground utilities infrastructure. In that catch-all are water pipes, sewer pipes, steam pipes, and a new ductbank (electrical conduit grouping) for telecommunications from the CIT Building. Several walkways have been excavated to make way for new or improved underground utilities corridors. The second phase is refreshed landscaping. Along with new permeable pavement walkways and entrance plazas in front of Roberts Hall and Mann Library come 54 new tree plantings, a rain garden, and upgraded lighting (from two poles to twenty). The plazas will come with movable tables and chairs, traditional benches and concrete slab benches (rough-hewn sides, cut/thermally-finished tops). For additional safety, the rehabbed quad will host collapsible bollards, an increased number of blue light security phones, and a new emergency vehicle path. Primary walkways will be 12′ wide, and secondary walkways 8′ wide. Some of the new garden spaces and landscaping will be done by students in various CALS programs.

The project has been the subject of relatively little controversy compared to most. Some consternation was expressed that four Cornellian cherry trees next to the west side of the Plant Science Building would be cut down for “infrastructure changes”, but other than that, there wasn’t much else in the way of concern or opposition. Eleven other trees are also or are being removed, so the net gain is 39.

The $9.6 million is coming mostly out of the university’s budget (CALS and Utilities), with some private funds. MKW & Associates LLC of New Jersey is the lead landscape architect, Over & Under Piping Contractors Inc. of Auburn is the GC, and Albany-based CHA Consulting Inc. is providing civil engineering expertise.

In the photos below, the new sanitary and steam pipes are being fed through a protective concrete threader, and new cobbled pavers being paid out in front of Mann. The rebar sticking out of the curved concrete in front of Mann is part of a bi-level concrete stairwall that will be capped with cut stone – my guess is the rebar is there to strengthen the concrete, and will be trimmed down once the concrete is fully cured and the project team is ready to move on to the next step. The metal tool on the left side of the last photo is a portable trench shield used for pipe installation.

20160918_131244 20160918_131314 20160918_131411 20160918_131430 20160918_131806 20160918_131810 20160918_133025 20160918_133246 20160918_133322 20160918_133644 20160918_133712 20160918_133753 20160918_133926

ag_quad_2

Pg-3-Rendering





209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 08/2016

23 08 2016

Structural steel is rising at 209-215 Dryden Road, the site of the new Breazzano Family Center for Executive Education. In the past month, the steel frame has been built out to street-level and decking is being attached to what will be the ground floor. A 90-seat tiered classroom will be in the basement below the decking, and a second 90-seat tiered classroom will be built on top of the decking. In the third-to-last photo, you can see a large open space between the steel columns, which is where the building’s four-story atrium will be. Those steel columns next to Dryden South (205 Dryden) really are as close as they look – the finished walls of the buildings will be separated by just two inches.

Like much of Collegetown, the project hasn’t been without its problems. A construction worker was injured last month when his leg was pinned against a concrete form. Thankfully, it doesn’t sound like the injury was too serious.

The six-story, 76,200 SF building is expected to open in summer 2017. Given the issues surrounding and delaying 201 College Avenue, this might be the only major building opening in inner Collegetown next year. About 200 Cornell staff will occupy the fourth through sixth floors at opening, and 350-400 Executive MBA students will attend week-long instruction sessions in the building during off-season academic periods (summer intercession and winter break).

20160821_101952 20160821_102029 20160821_103440 20160821_103525 20160821_103604 20160821_103623 20160821_103652 20160821_103721 20160821_103726

209-215_2

209-215_basement

 





Upson Hall Construction Update, 7/2016

1 08 2016

There are two different facade installations going on here – the terracotta, and the aluminum. For the terracotta, the process goes like this. First, we have the gypsum sheathing, coated with a turquoise-colored water-resistive barrier. The ends of the aluminum clips are installed onto the sheathing, and then mineral wool insulation is attached between the clip. Then, the rest of the aluminum clip is attached over the mineral wool. From there, terracotta panels are hung up and secured to the clips. The aluminum window surrounds don’t need this type of work, so the panels are just hung as-is over the sheathing.

According to Cornell’s Upson Hall webpage, Phase I is nearing completion at this point. That means that floors 3, 4 and 5 are nearly finished inside and out, and work will shift towards the basement, the first and second floor. Some work has already been done in the basement with utility and infrastructure upgrades. It’s really quite a feat that the building is continues to be occupied while all the construction is going on, the work split between the top half and bottom half. Also, kudos to the faculty, staff and students who have to put up with the noise and multiple moves while the work takes place. The fully-renovated Upson Hall should be ready by next August.

20160717_150119 20160717_150157 20160717_150224 20160717_150302 20160717_150321 20160717_150641

upson_4 upson_3





209-215 Dryden Road Construction Update, 06/2016

15 06 2016

At the site of the new Breazzano Family Center for Business Education, work continues on the foundation. It looks like excavation is mostly complete at this point and they’re putting in concrete footings, with digging for a new footing taking place at left in the first photo. The rebar doweled into the concrete will be tied into the walls as they’re built up. The footings closest to 205 Dryden (westernmost section) will hold the elevator shaft, stairwell and restrooms for each floor.

For those wanting a glimpse of the future, Cornell has put up a video render on Youtube showing the new building (exterior and interior) and advertising some of its features. There is an embedded copy of the video clip below.

20160608_162032 20160608_162035 20160608_162040 20160608_162217 20160608_162257 20160608_162323

209-215_2 209-215_basement





Gannett Health Center Construction Update, 5/2016

29 05 2016

Work on the exterior of the new wing of the Gannett Health Center is in the final stretch. The bluestone veneer is being attached, and the rails (also called “continuous anchors“) are on for the limestone veneer. It looks like insulation panels are still being installed on the upper levels of the west stairwell. When the insulation is attached, the rails are screwed on, the limestone panels are slid into place, and then they’re mortared or caulked into place with silicone.

Most of the work has shifted towards the completion of rough-ins and interior finishing, and the new wing should open for occupancy sometime later this summer (July/August). All operations will shift over into the new wing so that the next phase, renovation of the existing wings, can begin in earnest. The whole $55 million project will wrap up by October 2017.
20160522_134926 20160522_134947 20160522_135044 20160522_135105 20160522_135148 20160522_135249

gannett5 gannett2





Upson Hall Construction Update, 5/2016

26 05 2016

Taking a gander at Upson Hall, it looks like the renovation project is coming along nicely. The bump-outs are built out, sheathed and covered with the turquoise water resistant barrier. It looks like an insulation layer is going on top of the barrier, and then clips for the grey terra cotta panels. Many of the windows have been fitted, and the south windows of the west wing have had white aluminum surrounds installed, but the west face of the west wing is still metal stud walls, and neither of the bump-outs have received glazing.

Note that the building renovation is in two phases – the work set to wrap up this August focuses on floors 3, 4, and 5. Floors 1, 2 and what’s left in the basement will be finished over the following 12 months. There’s a third phase after those two, mostly dealing with enhanced landscaping.

According to Cornell’s project update page, mechanical rough-ins are underway for the rooftop equipment, and then the interior work (rough-ins, drywall, painting, ceiling installation) which is generally further along the farther up in the building one goes.

20160522_133359 20160522_133427 20160522_133517 20160522_133644 20160522_133729 20160522_133818 20160522_133823

upson_4

upson_3





Cornell Veterinary School Expansion Construction Update, 5/2016

25 05 2016

From Tower Road, it doesn’t appear a whole lot has changed since the last construction update in March. Work has shifted away from new construction somewhat, and towards the demolition of underused academic space to make way for the rest of the Vet School reconfiguration and expansion. The reinforced concrete frame of the new library and dean’s wing has advanced a bit, and new curtain wall glazing appears to be going in on the Vert Research Tower. The project is a bit disjointed because of the needs of academic space and surging at various times of the year.

Thanks to the kindness of a woman in blue scrubs, I was able to enter the building. While trying to find a good angle of the new demolition (couldn’t, but there’s a photo on the Vet School website here), I stumbled upon a model and timeline of the project, pictures below. According to the timeline here, the project completion is January 2018, not June 2017 as reported on the website. Dunno which one is more accurate. The model does a great job illustrating the full breadth of the project in relation to the rest of the vet school complex.

20160522_130612 20160522_130756 20160522_130851 20160522_130922 20160522_131344 20160522_131403 20160522_131417 20160522_131428 20160522_131445 20160522_131554 20160522_131846

Looking east from Tower Avenue. Rendering property of Cornell.

Looking east from Tower Avenue. Rendering property of Cornell.

Looking west from new courtyard. Rendering property of Cornell.

Looking west from new courtyard. Rendering property of Cornell.