What WE Did On YOUR Summer Vacation – 2013

Alfredo DiMauro, Assoc AIA
Department of Facilities
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609-2280 USA
What WE Did On YOUR Summer Vacation – 2013
I am pleased to present my annual update to the community of recent projects completed.
Last week, a student excitedly awaiting this year’s edition, mentioned that he went around
with a copy last year and checked-off each one so he could be sure to see them all. With
that in mind, I offer the update this year with checkboxes. Thanks, Adam!
Check off how many of these projects you have encountered so far…
THE QUADRANGLE - “Wow!” That seems to have been the reaction most folks have
given as the Quad took shape over the past few weeks. A student who just graduated in
May commented that her freshman year was the last time students arrived for A-term
and saw the “Old Quad” before all the activity over the past 3 years transformed a grassy
area surrounded by 120 cars, puddled paths, and dodging traffic. The Campus Master
Plan’s vision of a larger and pedestrian-focused Quadrangle has finally been realized.
After NASA’s TouchTomorrow event in June, bulldozers showed up and removed about
24” of soil across the Quad, the old roadway and parking spaces. A drainage system
was installed to eliminate the soggy sod, and new soil was brought in to support a
stronger and thicker turf with contours that allow the pathways to shed water. The paths
were realigned to actual destinations rather than simple symmetrical alignment, including
the foreshadowing of a new pathway between Harrington Auditorium and Alumni Gym
when the connector is demolished in the near future. A new irrigation system, new
lighting, and new trees were planted, with replacement bricks honoring decades of
donors reaching out from the familiar stone medallion. The new sod will take another 8
weeks for its roots to reach out and anchor itself to support the high impact use the Quad
normally endures. Until then, activities on the Quadrangle will be limited to light use.
THE WEDGE TERRACE - And in the southwest corner, a new accessible path slopes
up to an enhanced Wedge entrance and terrace. A few benches, not enough bike racks,
and 2 sets of stairs had restricted access to Morgan Dining Commons, with the only
accessible ramp over at Daniels Hall. Now we are graced by 13 patio tables and several
sitting walls overlooking the expanse and eventual activities of the new Quad. Railings
with built-in lighting will be arriving in a few weeks which will add to the night time
illumination of this new gathering space where people can enjoy a meal, chat with
friends, work on a project, or just hang in the sun. There’s even a tiered amphitheater for
a small jam, a poetry reading, curling up with a book, or just laying out in the sun. Soon,
folks will form their own impromptu gathering or small event at this great new space.
DANIELS HALL – Work is about to begin on the Army ROTC Hall of Honor in the 1st
Floor corridor, paying tribute to a history of WPI ROTC alums that have advanced to
successful careers in the military and in service to their country. The display will be
unveiled and dedicated at Homecoming with some of the honorees in attendance.
Morgan, Daniels and Riley Halls received some improvements to the bathrooms and
showers as well as new water heaters in Morgan and Daniels Halls.
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RILEY HALL - At the southeast end of the Quad, Riley Hall received a facelift with the
removal of ivy, which may have looked nice, but was causing significant damage to the
masonry, roof, and windows. The entrance stairs and surrounding wall were removed,
rebuilt and topped with a new railing.
HARRINGTON AUDITORIUM – Check out the basketball court and you won’t be able to
miss the great new red bleachers that sport Gompei’s threatening stare and spell out W-P-I.
ROOFTOP SPORTS COMPLEX - That new parking garage you may remember from C
and D-term now has our awesome rooftop fields for softball, soccer, lacrosse, field
hockey, rugby, and recreation. Down below are a concession stand, restrooms and two
visiting team locker rooms to support Alumni Field as well. New plantings along Park
Avenue have been a well-received buffer that softens the appearance of the garage and
makes it fit well into the neighborhood. As part of our commitment to sustainability, as the
Higgins Lot was reconfigured, a “bio-swale” was added between the entrance drive and
the parking area. While it may look like an overgrown plantbed, it is a detention basin to
receive rainwater from the driveway and hold it till it slowly percolates into the ground.
The plants in the bio-swale were selected to help breakdown any oils or fluids that wash
in with the rainwater. Also, check out the covered bike parking and bicycle Fix-It Station in
the garage near the elevator, which has air pumps and tools to maintain your bike.
HIGGINS HOUSE – With a lot more foot traffic travelling between the new parking garage
and the north end of the campus, new hand railings with a period design were added to
the stairs up from the parking lot to Higgins House. New exterior lighting has been added
to improve visibility and safe passage walking from the Garage to the Campus. Inside
Higgins House, a beautiful new wood floor graces the Great Hall.
CAMPUS CENTER - New mailboxes were added this summer to meet the needs of our
growing student body. New carpeting was added on the first floor and a new counter
installed at one of the computer kiosk areas.
OLIN HALL – Check out OH-223 and the new student desks! We have often heard
concerns about the small size of the work surface of the traditional tablet armchairs.
This summer we upgraded 5 classrooms – 1 in Olin Hall, Higgins Labs, and Washburn
Shops, and 2 in Stratton Hall - with a new generation student desk which has a desktop
2-3 times larger than what we have in most classrooms. They are also ambidextrous,
accommodating both left-handed and right-handed students, as well as allowing
students to enter from either side. We hope to add more each summer. Olin Hall is also
getting new TA meeting space on the 3rd floor. The building has also been outfitted with
a new fire alarm system.
GODDARD HALL – A new air conditioning system for faculty offices in Chemical
Engineering has been provided, as well as a new boiler for a lab.
ATWATER KENT LABS received a major upgrade to its fire alarm system.
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FULLER LABS benefitted from some re-roofing for a portion of the building and carpeting
and painting of some faculty offices. HVAC temperature control work is being planned to
improve comfort levels in this building.
KAVEN HALL received new seating in lecture hall KH-116. Outside the building, we are
planning for replacement windows that will save energy and improve comfort and
appearance. An additional bluelight phone is being installed in front of Kaven Hall at the
corner of Boynton and Salisbury Streets, facing Institute Park.
Speaking of INSTITUTE PARK, the City is about to begin installing a path through the park,
linking the Boynton Street entrance all the way to Faraday Street to facilitate the increased
foot traffic from the new residents of Faraday Hall. This new lit path through the park should
be completed this fall and will bring all of Gateway Park much closer to the campus.
FARADAY HALL opened its doors at 10 Faraday Street on August 13th and now houses
258 upperclassmen in a new, cutting-edge residence hall of apartment-style living. As
some finishing touches are wrapping up inside, work will be completed soon on a
beautiful, private, and secure courtyard behind the building – the largest open space
adjacent to any single residence hall. The courtyard will offer a large south-facing open
lawn area, benches and tables, plenty of bike racks, a bicycle Fix-It Station, and a light pit
- for evening gatherings around an illuminated seating well. Work will also begin soon on
a new parking lot on Lancaster Street with card access, opening this fall for residents of
Faraday Hall.
GATEWAY 1 / LSBC – Renovations on the 4th floor have provided for a number of new
faculty offices. A new lab is also being fit up for a new faculty member there.
FOUNDERS HALL – The suites in Founders Hall have been upgraded with dry
kitchenettes, offering a full-size fridge, microwave oven, countertop and cabinets. Plans
are underway for new exits signs, HVAC improvements at the Campus Police Station,
and a major boiler replacement.
GORDON LIBRARY – The entrance lobby is sporting a new floor, carpet improvements
were made on the 3rd floor, along with furnishings to create a new “FLIP” space - Flexible
Library Instruction Place.
SALISBURY LABS – New seating for the lounge and SL-104 and 105; new blackboards
were installed in Kinnicutt Hall; and some new faculty offices were created and others
renovated. Exterior masonry cleaning and repointing was completed.
WASHBURN SHOPS – Classroom WS-323 was renovated and outfitted with the new
style of student desks. A portion of the roof was redone, air handling units are being
replaced, and some 2nd floor offices and labs were renovated.
POWERHOUSE – Verizon is installing cellular phone antennas on the smoke stack of the
Powerhouse. When completed this fall, cellphone reception in many areas of the campus
should be improved.
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PROJECT CENTER – Office improvements and carpeting in IGSD were undertaken.
STRATTON HALL – Repairs were made to the fire escapes as part of our deferred
maintenance plan; Classrooms SH106 and 202 received new student desks; a 3rd floor
restroom was renovated.
BOYNTON HALL – In preparation for the building’s upcoming 150th birthday, Boynton
Hall’s exterior masonry was cleaned and ivy removed; inside, the 3rd floor’s Marketing &
Communications Department received renovations and reconfigurations.
HIGGINS LABS – Classroom HL-114 received some cosmetic improvements, along with
new student desks; Laboratory HL-031 was renovated and refurnished, as was the former
Fire Protection Engineering Lab, which is transforming into 2 research and MQP labs.
ALDEN MEMORIAL – Classroom AH-B30 was renovated into a Music Technology
Classroom that will be fit up with special Macintosh computers with MIDI keyboards; a
new Music Robotics Lab was also created.
ELLSWORTH APPARTMENTS – With a grant from the Ellsworth Foundation, several
Ellsworth Apartments received new flooring, painting, counters, appliances, and furniture.
Several Fuller Apartments received new flooring.
25 TROWBRIDGE STREET received an extreme makeover for the 19 students living there
this year. Inside and out, improvements were made addressing longstanding deferred
maintenance issues as well as some cosmetic improvements. Kitchen and bathroom
renovations, flooring, painting, furniture, exterior siding and roofing capped the project.
Across the street, INTERNATIONAL HOUSE received new roofing, siding, and window
Please peruse the brief pictorial of many of these projects and accomplishments
described above that follows. While it has obviously been very busy here, there are
several more projects that we did not get to yet, so there will be more activity in the
months ahead.
Our custodial, grounds, and trades teams also performed significant and detailed work
in several areas around the university, inside and out.
A special “thank you” to Chris Salter, Bill Spratt, Steve Salamon, and all the managers
and staff in the Facilities Department for working together and around all kinds of
constraints to try to get all this work done while minimizing impact on activities,
programs, events, and those who were here diligently working this summer.
And thanks to many of you for enduring the dust, detours and remaining finishing touches
on a few lingering projects, and excuse any distraction from any of the newer projects
coming up.
Alfredo DiMauro, Assoc AIA
Assistant Vice President, Facilities
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Expansion & Renovation
Access &
Exterior Masonry Repairs
Army ROTC Hall of Honor
Bleacher Replacement
New Sports Fields
Bike Fix-It Station
& Covered Bike Parking
Park Ave Landscaping
Higgins Stairs Hand Railing
New Residence Hall
Tech Suites
New Residence Hall
Suite Kitchenettes
Lobby Flooring
Exterior Masonry Cleaning
Classroom 323
New Student Desks
Fire Escape Repairs
Marketing & Communications
Interior & Exterior Renovations
Siding & Roofing