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JANUARY 31, 2008
Work heats up despite cold temperatures

From the Baldwin City Signal
By Jimmy Gillispie

As work on the second level begins on its new residence hall, Baker University Director of Physical Plant Gary Walbridge says the construction is right on schedule.

Winter weather has tried to slow down the progress of Baker’s new $6.3 million, 190-bed living and learning center, but it hasn’t stopped the construction workers from remaining on schedule for the Aug. 1 completion date.

“It’s probably right on schedule,” Walbridge said. “As you can see, they are going up to the second story. They hope to get the roof trusses up by Valentine’s Day. If they do that they are still on schedule. The bottom line is it’s going well.”

Maxim Construction, out of Bucyrus, is leading the charge in building the new facility. They broke ground in November and have been hard at it since then, according to Walbridge.

He said the company has been working every day of the week, including weekends. The workers were allowed to take a couple of days off work.

“They have worked every day except Christmas Day, New Years day and one Sunday, due to the weather,” Walbridge said. They’ve had somebody working every day of the week.”

Although the construction is remaining on schedule, it hasn’t been without a few problems or setbacks. Most of those have been weather related, especially from the snow and moisture in the construction zone.

“The snow and mud have slowed them down a bit,” Walbridge said. “When they come in, they have to clear the snow off the building and the wood. They track mud on it, but they don’t want to leave that on there, so they stop and scrape it off.”

Besides the mud and snow, the workers have also had to overcome other problems. After they broke ground, they discovered the foundation of a former Baker building. That slowed down the progress, briefly, as they had to destroy the old foundation before advancing.

“They have been fighting the mud,” Walbridge said. Another thing that slowed them down was that Wood Hall used to be there one time. When they started digging down, they found part of the foundation, so they had to haul that out. Then they had to bore underneath Dearborn Street, because they had to relocate some of the phone line and fiber optics. That stuff has slowed them down a little bit.”

Another problem has been transporting large machinery in and out of the construction zone, while avoiding the students walking from Gessner Hall to Harter Union.