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LEEP 2 Construction Q & A

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Update (Sept. 18):

  • In the next week or so, for safety purposes, Turner Construction will board over some windows in Spahr Library, Learned Hall and M2SEC that face the construction zone.

  • Over the next two weeks, there will be selected demolition of the façade of Learned Hall, which may cause some vibration in the building. Excavation around the building will also begin within the next few weeks.

  • There is a little remaining excavation of Burt Hall that may cause a few minor vibrations in M2SEC.  This should conclude in the next week.

Previous Information

Construction is in full swing on a major expansion at the University of Kansas School of Engineering.  The $80 million, 135,000-square-foot project, known as the Learned Engineering Expansion Phase 2 (LEEP 2), consists of two separate buildings, one at the engineering complex and another on KU’s west campus, on the southwest side of the Park and Ride lot. 

“This entire project is based on input from faculty, staff and students about the long-term needs of the School of Engineering. Those needs were then prioritized, put into an action plan, and now we’re in the beginning stages of implementation,” said JoAnn Browning, associate dean for administration in the School of Engineering

The building now under construction at the engineering complex will be four stories and 110,000 square feet, located west of Spahr Engineering Library, between Learned Hall and the Measurement, Materials and Sustainable Environment Center (M2SEC). It will also extend west to the area previously occupied by Burt Hall.

The facility will have six new classrooms featuring technology and configurations to support the newest teaching techniques, eight teaching laboratories, three shared research spaces and individual research spaces for new faculty. It will also contain a variety of spaces geared toward helping students succeed in their academic and professional pursuits, including the Engineering Career Center and student recruitment and retention services.

The 25,000 square-foot building on KU’s west campus will house a high bay facility that is designed to provide ample space for research, testing and development of large, structural systems such as concrete piers or steel girder connections for bridges. There will also be space for a new home for student projects, including groups of engineering students focused on developing sustainable approaches to energy infrastructure and automotive technologies.

Through the University Engineering Expansion Act of 2011, the Kansas Department of Commerce is providing $35 million for the project. The remaining $45 million will be from a combination of donor gifts through KU Endowment, the KU Center for Research and other university funds, including bonds issued to finance construction and related costs.

“There will be some inconveniences during construction, but safety is the primary concern,” Browning said. “We’ll do as much as we can to minimize the disruptions, knowing there is this great prize at the end, but until then, we’ll all have to endure some annoyances to make sure everyone stays safe at all times.” 

To help students, faculty and staff navigate the engineering complex during construction here are answers to a few questions about the project and what to expect.  Send additional questions to Cody Howard, School of Engineering Communications Coordinator, codyh@ku.edu.

Check out a photo overview of all the changes. 

Q: What engineering buildings on the main campus are affected by construction? 

A: The primary buildings affected will be Learned Hall and Spahr Library.  There may be some inconveniences around M2SEC and Eaton Hall.

Q: Where can I enter/exit Learned Hall?

A: The west entrance, north entrances, east entrance (near the Jayhawk Motorsports lab) and easternmost south-facing entrance (to the Engineering Courtyard) are available.

Q: Which exits are closed/only for emergency in Learned Hall?

A: For those familiar with the layout of Learned Hall, there are changes to three of the south-facing exits on the first floor. The westernmost south-facing exit is now blocked. The centrally located south exit is closed for construction.  The exit to Spahr Library also has been modified.

Emergency exit procedures for people in that area of the first floor are to move to the second floor and exit the building to the north through the north-south hallway near the CEAE offices.

The interior walkway from Learned Hall to Spahr Library is open during construction, however there will be no exit to the west sidewalk. The walkway is only open to provide access to Spahr Library or to exit to the east to the Engineering Courtyard.

Q:  What’s the emergency exit plan for the 2nd floor of Learned Hall at the west end by the civil engineering department offices?

A:  Construction crews have worked to bring the north-south hallway at the west end of the 2 nd floor into compliance with fire codes.  There is an emergency exit on the 2 nd floor to the north side of Learned.  The middle stairwell in Learned Hall has also been brought up to code – and in an emergency, those on the first floor near this stairwell are advised to ascend to the second floor and exit the building to the north.

Q: What if I’m on the west end of Learned on the third and fourth floors?

A: The closest exit is to go down to the 2 nd floor using the west staircase, and exit through the north-south hallway to the north exit.

Q: What’s the emergency exit plan for the machine shop in the basement of Learned Hall?

A: The ramp doors that exit the machine shop to the south are now closed.  A new emergency exit to the west end of Learned Hall is now open.

Q: Where can I enter/exit Spahr Library?

A: The east entrance to the Engineering Courtyard remains open.  Access to the north into Learned Hall will be open during construction – though it is expected to close next summer during major renovations to Spahr Library.  The west exit from the walkway between Learned and Spahr that accesses the pathway between the two buildings will be closed for the duration of construction.  A newly constructed emergency exit along the south side of Spahr Library is now open.

Q: How do I get from the 15 th Street bus stop to Learned Hall?

There is a newly constructed sidewalk along the west edge of Eaton Hall that leads to the Engineering Courtyard.

Q: Where can I enter/exit Eaton Hall?

A: All entrances/exits remain open.  Emergency exit procedures for Eaton Hall have not changed.

Q:  Where can I enter/exit M2SEC?

A: All entrances/exits remain open.

Q: What about entrances/exits for people with disabilities?  Is there access to elevators?  Accessibility ramps?

A: All buildings remain completely accessible to people with disabilities and no changes have been made to any of the routes designated for those with disabilities.

Q: Do I have to wear a hardhat when I’m nearby?

A: You only have to wear a hardhat and other safety gear when you enter the construction site, which may only be done with permission from Turner Construction prior to entering the site.

Q: I work in the school and I have large supply orders that will be delivered.  Is the loading dock on the west end of Learned still open?

A: It is open, but difficult to navigate.  Please make sure that all deliveries are properly marked, and that Building Complex Manager Craig Calixte, 785-864-2909, is a contact person for delivery.

Q: What if I need something delivered to M2SEC?

A: Any deliveries that need to be made through the north doors at M2SEC must be coordinated with Turner Construction and staff should contact Building Complex Manager Craig Calixte, 785-864-2909.

Q:  What efforts are being undertaken to ensure there won't be major disruptions from construction noise while I'm trying to study in Spahr Library?

A: Construction can be a loud process.  Periodic disruptions can be expected. The contractor, Turner Construction, will try to manage the noise level to the best of its ability. Students will be notified in advance when major disruptions are expected.  The daily construction schedule is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, plus some Saturdays so, outside of those times, conditions should be relatively quiet.

Q: Can events still be scheduled outside in the Engineering Courtyard between Eaton and Learned?

A: Yes. The construction site will be fenced off, but the area is open, and there is a newly constructed sidewalk that runs from the Courtyard along the west edge of Eaton Hall to 15 th Street.

Q: What do I tell the Pizza Delivery Guy or Jimmy John’s?

A: The easiest spot to park will most likely be the parking meters on the east side of Eaton Hall (lot 129).  It’s recommended to meet the delivery person in the Eaton Atrium or arrange to meet in some other easily accessible location, so these folks aren’t left wandering through the construction.

Q: What if construction plans change? How will we know?

A: Major changes will be emailed to all students, faculty and staff and posted on the School of Engineering Facebook page and Twitter feed.  This web page will also be updated.

Q:  Will this construction affect the bus system?

A: No.

Q:  What parking accommodations are in place for those with disabilities?

A: The construction process ensures that the mandatory number of disability parking spaces have been preserved.

Q: What’s the story with Lot 54 (the one to the south of Eaton Hall)? 

A: Construction on Lot 54 was delayed because of special permit requirements to use pervious pavements, a greener alternative for water management on campus.  When it is done, the lot will be a more sustainable design with more parking spaces.

Q:  When will it open? 

A: Due to these delays, it will likely not open until the end of September.  

Q:  What’s the parking plan until it opens?

A: To reduce parking stress at the beginning of the school year for faculty and staff whose main office is nearby the Allen Fieldhouse Parking Garage, KU Parking and Transit offers the following:

• The Allen Fieldhouse Parking Garage waiting list will be frozen until Lot 54 reopens.  No new student permit holders will be advanced to the garage during this time.

• Faculty and staff who upgraded to a garage permit this summer will be able to continue using the 2012-2013 garage hangtag to access the Allen Fieldhouse garage.  Access will continue until Lot 54 reopens.  (Contingent on purchase of a 2013-2014 surface lot sticker.)

• Other faculty and staff who wish to park in the garage during this time may come in to the Parking & Transit office and get a 2012-2013 Allen Fieldhouse garage hangtag, which will allow access until Lot 54 reopens. (Contingent on purchase of a 2013-2014 surface lot sticker.)

• The north half of Lot 72 (Burge Union, currently yellow) will be temporarily converted to red zone parking until Lot 54 reopens.

• Faculty and staff are also encouraged to utilize Park and Ride as much as possible.

Q: What are the plans for Lot 41 (to the west of Learned Hall)? 

A: This lot will be available for Blue permit parking.  It will be at a lower capacity and difficult to navigate throughout construction.  So, those planning to use this lot should plan to arrive early, or seek alternate lots.  When all construction is complete, it will re-open with more parking spaces than it previously had.  

Q: Will there be any Red permit parking in this area during construction?

A: No.

Q:  What are the plans for parking on football and basketball game days?

A: It’s best to keep a close eye on emails from the University and School of Engineering that provide information on which lots are available, and when they must be vacated to allow for gameday parking.  It’s also important to closely monitor signs posted at parking lot entrances that provide gameday parking details.



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