Last semester, John Carroll University students who had to walk between the O’Malley Center and the Boler School of Business faced a bit of a challenge crossing the quad instead of the sidewalk, which was undergoing renovations.
The sidewalks and walls around the Administration Building had deteriorated and needed to be replaced. The old walls were constructed in the early 1930s, when JCU moved to its current location and the Administration Building Complex was being built. After more than 70 years of wear, the walls had begun leaking into the mail center’s storage area and the main electrical equipment for the AD Building, said JCU Director of Construction Richard Bretz.
The newly renovated walls and walking surfaces are water resistant. In addition to the waterproofing, Bretz said, “A better insulation system was installed between the waterproofing and the concrete to help with energy conservation as well as monolithically-poured concrete which we colored and stamped to be more architecturally correct with the building.”
Freshman Alyssa Brown is glad that the leaks are being fixed. “I was walking from under the mail center and I noticed these giant pink splotches on my brand new John Carroll hoodie,” said Brown.
The waterproofing will prevent these leaks from affecting the building similarly in years to come.
“The proposed completion date was Dec.1,” said Bretz. Due to inclement Cleveland weather, excessive rain and other unexpected delays, it was not completed until Dec. 15.
Sophomore Katie Heegan said, “I thought it went on for way too long. It was a huge inconvenience. If I was running late, I had to run all the way around [the walkway around the quad] or in the snow.”
To avoid affecting students’ commute to class, most projects are planned to take place during the summer. Since the scope of this job was bigger than most maintenance jobs on campus, it had to extend into the academic year.
There is still caulking work to be done once the temperatures are consistently above 40 degrees, and concrete still needs to be poured where the stairs meet the grade of the quad.
“This was not possible in the fall because the backfill against the foundation wall needs to settle and be better compacted. This work is planned to take place mid-May,” said Bretz.
There were three companies primarily responsible for the project. Technical Assurance was the engineering firm, Mid State Restoration was the brick restoration company, and Harry S. Peterson Company did all of the excavation and waterproofing work. Each of these companies also hired subcontractors as necessary to complete the project as close to the scheduled date as possible.
Because these projects appreciate the value of the building, they are considered capitol expenses and do not come from the maintenance budget. According to Bretz, the facilities department receives its money from a special budget set aside each fiscal year based on requests that it makes for campus needs.
However, since the upkeep of a campus the size of JCU is very demanding with the changing weather and constant pedestrian traffic, the Facilities Department has to prioritize and make repairs to the areas in greatest need.
Since this work was done so close to the classrooms, the facilities department tried to schedule the construction so that it would not be inconvenient for the students.
“We tried to minimize the disturbance by having this work performed when the students were not going to classes,” said Bretz.
Despite their efforts, some students still felt that the construction was a distraction from their classes.
Freshman Kelsey Aerni said, “I had German at 10 a.m. and the noise was pretty distracting.”
Looking forward, said Bretz, “There are no major projects planned for the balance of the semester.”