The long-awaited new bridge opened to vehicles and pedestrians on Friday January 18th, just in time for the start of the spring semester. Workers will be making ancillary improvements to the bridge throughout February, while landscaping and final paving will be completed in the spring.
The opening of the new bridge marks the completion of a complex project that began last June with the temporary diversion of the Park River and the removal of a 50-year-old dam. The old dam, which was at the end of its useful life, has now been replaced with an 80-foot clear span bridge. Removing the dam and allowing the river to flow freely beneath the new bridge will have a positive environmental impact, and also should make campus flooding less intense. While the area around the river will still be prone to occasional flooding during heavy rains, any water that spills over the riverbanks will be calm. The force of the river will stay within the channel, eliminating the threat of rushing water and strong currents on campus roads and parking lots.
More Energy Efficient Buildings
Over the summer the University took on the biggest overhaul of building systems on campus since 2001, as workers replaced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and electrical infrastructure with modern, energy-efficient equipment. These overhauls have enabled the University to get rid of equipment that was past its useful life, and they will have a number of other benefits as well. These upgrades will improve energy efficiency and lower the University's energy costs, reduce the University's carbon footprint, and improve the comfort of the occupants of the buildings.
The largest building system upgrades took place in Hillyer Hall, whose HVAC system dates back to the building's construction in 1959. Workers replaced the HVAC distribution system and upgraded controls through the building; replaced the building's air handler unit; installed energy efficient lighting, and replaced the ceiling in the hallways. In United Technologies Hall, workers replaced the HVAC control system, replaced the air handler unit that serves the building, and installed energy efficient lighting. Other buildings that received HVAC upgrades include the Fuller Music Center (Hartt School) and Auerbach Hall. Workers also made HVAC improvements in the Sports Center (Chase Family Arena).
These upgrades are part of an ongoing campus energy project that included the installation of an energy-efficient dishwasher in the University Commons last fall and the introduction last spring of a campus shuttle bus that runs on biodiesel. The project will continue this fall, with the installation of energy efficient lighting in some of the academic parking lots, and the replacement of the air handler unit on the roof of the Computer Center.
More than 1,200 student spaces in the Village Apartments, Regents Park, and E Complex received new furniture this summer, including desks, desk chairs, bedframes, mattresses, and dressers. This was the second phase of a multi-phase furniture replacement program. To date, more than two-thirds of the residential spaces on campus have received new furniture.
Workers also renovated the stairwells in E Complex, and repaired and replaced doors in B, D, E, and F Complexes. In addition, our Grounds crews have made landscaping and paving improvements in the parking areas and walkways throughout the Village Apartments.
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