Beimdiek Center presses forward

Amye Buckley

Hardhats and jackhammers have replaced books and cafeteria trays inside Billingsly Student Center this fall.

Demolition and remodeling continue in the Lions’ Den area and construction on the adjoining Beimdiek Student Recreation Center is moving ahead. Under construction since March, the site has been excavated, the piers drilled and poured, and foundation completed. Contractors continue to build the metal structure and lay masonry.

“You’ll see that building start to close up on that very north side of it within the next week,” said Rodney Longenecker, RE Smith Construction project manager.

Rob Yust, assistant vice president for business affairs, gets weekly or biweekly updates from both construction projects.

Yust says a dedication for the Health Sciences Building will be held later in the semester. Trenches extending from the Health Sciences Building to Leggett & Platt Athletic Center will hook in to existing utilities.

As part of the bid parking east of Hearnes Hall was replaced. Trees and additional concrete work will be put in when the weather cools.

Progress has been hampered by the unexpected.

“When they put in the carpet and tile in years ago they really used some heavy duty glue and the contractors had to use jackhammers to get it up,” Yust said.

The brick floor also had to be removed with jackhammers and the process left gouges in the concrete floor.

Asbestos tiles were discovered under the carpet in the Lions’ Den. The wet spring slowed the Beimdiek excavation.

“We just had one rain right after another,” Longenecker said. “It was a killer. We went through about 45 days of lost time right there. We’re doing everything we can to make it up.”

Outdoors the next step after the walls are up is to backfill and begin grading for parking. Inside the building the heating and air and electrical are priorities. The Lions’ Den will re-open as the construction continues in other parts of the building.

“We should have a painter in there next week and start really cleaning the place up,” Longenecker said. “The ceiling will start, the new ceilings and the flooring will follow that so sometime this fall the Lion’s Den will be back.”