MCLA Science Building On Pace For September OpeningBy Andy McKeever
05:47PM / Thursday, January 17, 2013
On Thursday workers were framing the windows for the entryway.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Construction of the new science building at MCLA is right on track, according to college officials.
James Stakenas, vice president of Administration and Finance for the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, said on Thursday that somewhere between 100 and 200 workers have been on site every work day to complete the building in time for a September opening. The building's shell is compete with glass framing, plumbing stubs and some ventilation ducts in place and workers have begun installing wall board on the first floor.
"We're looking good. We're still on track to use it in September 2013," Stakenas said.
A state bond of $54.4 million is paying for the new Center for Science and Innovation and Columbia Construction is managing the site. During the summer contractors completed the shell of the building so it could be heated and worked on through the winter. On Thursday, workers were installing the framing for the glass on the entryway. On the exterior workers still have to finish a granite base and add a "skin" on the outside walls as well as some windows.
There has been no loss in construction days despite some deliveries being delayed by Hurricane Sandy, he said.
Stakenas has a video of the second floor where one can see the outlined studs of the rooms but few other staff members have seen the inside. State inspectors are on site overseeing the construction until it is signed over to the college.
"It's a very exciting project for the campus. It's going to have decades of positive influence," Stakenas said, adding that he isn't sure the students realize how much the new building will change the education.
In all, Stakenas says he hopes to be moving furniture in during August. The school is already in the discussion of which kind of furniture will be purchased and the lab equipment has already been ordered.
"We will a tight window for the last few weeks," Stakenas said. "We not only have to move into the building but at the same time we have leave Bowman Hall."
A renovation of Bowman Hall is part of the $54 million bond and when the new building is opened, those classes will shift to the other buildings for one year. Bowman is expected to retain the majority of its shape and size but feature new windows, walls for a downstairs cafe, an art gallery and a new foyer. That building will house math, visual arts and computer science.
Bowman, which was constructed in 1970, is the current location of college's science labs and any recyclable material from those labs will be "repurposed." Both projects are LEED certified and all of the material that can be recycled will be, he said.
"You have to do something with the spaces the sciences walked away from," Stakenas said.
The construction plans are nearing the completion of "schematic design" and will soon move into "design development," where the construction plans and bid contracts will be formulated.
Stakenas said he has no complaint with the way the project is moving along.
"It's being done appropriately and hopefully on time and on budget," Stakenas said. "It's a complicated project but it is being managed well."
College President Mary Grant had spent years trying to convince the state to fund the new building and in October of 2011 the project finally broke ground. Just short of a year later, in September of 2012, the school held a "topping off ceremony" for the completion of the exterior envelope.