It’s summer and the Fresno State campus may seem peaceful. But it’s not so. With construction projects underway, the university is taking advantage of the months free of student traffic.
Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Tinnah Medina said there are several major projects underway or scheduled for later this summer. She said the first phase of the classroom modernization project is on-going.
“It started in May and includes new paint, flooring, and ceiling; new instructional technology; and new seating,” Medina said.
She said seven classrooms will be renovated this summer and four more will be done during summer 2019. Phase one is expected to cost $4.5 million.
Work in Room 109 in Science 2 was recently completed, and Medina said 45 seats were added.
However, the biology department complained the modernization ill-suits the sort of teaching it wants to do in that space.
Medina explained, “that classroom is a large tiered lecture hall. The teaching methods biology wants to do there are better suited to be in a medium-sized flat-floored classroom. Academic scheduling is working with the department to locate a more appropriate space for those classes.”
She said that the modernization project is aimed at adding more capacity to help students graduate faster as well as updating the classroom infrastructure. She noted that 128 new seats were added to the three largest classrooms in the first phase.
Renovations in Agriculture 109 are not expected to be done until the end of the fall semester due to the need for more extensive work. In order to provide instructional support during fall semester, North Gym 118 will be used as a classroom and will only be available for events on Saturdays and Sundays.
As for the comprehensive sewer and storm drainage rehabilitation project, Medina said “the existing drainage and sewer systems are at least 30 years old and have lived beyond their life expectancy. We’re now having decaying pipe fail in places.”
Over the summer, work to replace pipelines will take place across campus. She said campus roads will be temporarily closed while work is being done.
“As far as the buildings are concerned,” Medina added, “they won’t be affected by the work because we’ll do workarounds.” The work is expected to be done by September and will cost an estimated $600,000, she said.
The athletic department and the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Medina said, are combining forces to build a new locker room building for the women’s equestrian team at the Horse Center. The current locker room is housed in an aging modular building at the Center. Medina said the utility infrastructure is being installed now and construction of the building itself should start in July. The estimated cost, she added, is $1.8 million.
Medina mentioned the east berm at Bulldog Stadium is also being repaired. She said, “we had water intrusion in the berm due to concrete joint caulking failing. That led to cracks in the concrete and sand ‘blowing out’ into the bowl at times.”
She went to say that the caulking that failed was the original one, roughly 40 years old. “We are rebuilding two stairways, at sections 29 and 33 and recaulking the entire stadium,” Medina said.
Medina also provided an update on the North and South Gymnasiums’ renovation project. She explained that the cores of both buildings are old – predating fire sprinkler codes – and have been added onto or renovated over the years. “In the past, the state fire marshal allowed smaller projects to proceed with just partial fire sprinklering,” she said. However, she went on, “the Sacramento fire marshal’s office suddenly disagreed with its local staff” and directed that sprinklering of the buildings would be required.
Medina said the university received approval in March 2018 for the expanded scope of the work but that subsequent approvals would be necessary. She explained project staff are currently waiting for final approval of the fire sprinkler plans. “We’re hoping to have that approval by the end of the summer,” Medina said. “After that, the remaining work should be completed approximately five months later.”
She also mentioned the separate design and product development laboratory being renovated in Engineering West. “That project is specific to the Lyles College of Engineering and isn’t part of the classroom modernization work,” Medina said. “Plant operations will be supporting that project with specific trades, like we did with North Gym 118” several years ago.
Work on the first phase to upgrade the campus central plant should begin in August. Medina said a new cooling tower to replace the existing 44-year-old one will be installed. She explained the tower cools the chilled water pipes to cool the campus. The cost for the first phase is estimated at $1.4 million.
Medina said work should be completed by this December. Medina also said the work on Barton Avenue that began a few weeks ago was “going well and is on schedule” to be done before campus housing move-in weekend just before classes start in August.