Scaffolding looms overhead while steel beams and wooden crates of rebar and metal piping litter the lawn. This is part of the Swain Hall renovation process.
Elizabeth Housworth, chair of the mathematics department, said she looks forward to the installation of an elevator.
“It should help make Swain Hall more accessible,” Housworth said. “Swain East and Swain West are about half a floor off.”
Housworth said the building will be getting a shared cubicle-style office space for professors and graduate students and new furniture in addition to the elevator.
Housworth said as far as she knows the building is being renovated because of asbestos and low-level radiation found due to the age of the building.
“I have been told all limestone produces small amount of radiation, but apparently Swain has a little more than that,” Housworth said. “The renovations will take care of both issues.”
The entire building is also getting a new roof. All the scaffolding clinging to the walls of Swain are there to keep roof tiles from falling on students and professors.
Housworth’s office is in Rawles Hall, which is not part of the renovations. However, she said she appreciates how the University is looking after everyone who works in Swain. Despite this, Housworth said she is worried about how the construction will disrupt classes.
“The noise will cause some problems with the Math Learning Center,” she said. “That is where we administer late tests and offer tutoring and aid.”
Ryan Rieker, a psychics student, said during one of his classes, workers would be on the roof and making loud noises. As a result his professor would go out and have a stern word with the workers about it.
The noise is not the only inconvenience from the construction projects.
Rieker works in a physics lab with professor Rob de Ruyter, a biophysicist, and has had to pack up and move the entire lab from the basement of Swain Hall to a new location.
“We had to move to Center for Exploration of Energy and Matter out north of 45/46,” Rieker said. “But we have had no problems since we moved, although we will have to move back to Swain in two years when the construction is done.”
The date of completion for the project, which includes Swain, Kirkwood and Ernie Pyle Halls, is set for Aug. 1 2018.
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