Pedestrian tunnel closing on April 18, mural paused


Samantha Zoltanski/The Chart

Sara Humphries and Kristen Stacy pose in front of the tunnel mural

Due to the plan to begin construction on the new residence hall complex, the decision will be made to close the pedestrian tunnel on Friday, April 18, after the Board of Governors meeting. The tunnel will be opened again when construction is complete and the area is safe for students.

The estimated cost for this new residence hall project was $14 million and, if the project can start this month, it will be completed by July 1, 2015 and ready for students to move in fall of 2015.

“We are currently ‘value engineering’ the project because the initial bids came in over the budget for the project,” said Robert Harrington, director of physical plant/risk manager.

“All parties involved (contractor, engineers, architects and the owners) met on Monday [March 31] and did some significant re-design of the project which we felt would bring it into budget.”

According to Harrington, $14 million is the maximum total project cost and the design with be re-constructed until the contractor gives Southern a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) of under the $14 million budget.

There was also negotiation within the budget or the ongoing mural project inside the tunnel.

According to student senator Cory Garr, sophomore, political science, the dirt work and construction being done near the tunnel had to get moved up in timing, sooner than anticipated.

Junior graphic design major Kristen Stacy, the main designer and leader of the project, tried to get the dates pushed back so the artwork in the tunnel could be continued.

“I was sad [to hear about the tunnel closing] and wanted to do whatever we could to changes construction dates or keep it part of the way open,” said Stacy. “May 1 would have been the estimated [completion] date.”

Student Senate approved $3,335 and as of last fall, $2,000 was spent on the progress of the mural. Originally Stacy was going to be paid $1,500 prior to the closing of the tunnel.

The capital improvement committee came to the decision to pay Stacy 20 percent of the original amount.

“She did amazing work and I do believe she should get credit for that,” said Brooklyn Lampe, sophomore, environmental health.

Stacy and the art department plan to wait 18 months until the construction is complete and hope to pick up where they left off.

The new residence hall complex will be located north of Newman Rd and west of International Avenue, feature 51 student apartments with six three-story buildings.