The University of Idaho Administration Building Foyer, under construction since May 2017, will open and be fully available for use in mid-December, the UI Infrastructure website said.
According to the website, the Admin Building Foyer and North Entrance Exterior Repairs project is on track to be completed, after having taken longer than the original late October completion date. The project began with the aim of renovating and repairing the interior and exterior of the building, attempting to not only meet the needs of its modern occupants, but to also maintain the historic charm of the nearly 100-year-old structure.
Many of the repairs and renovations have already been completed, including fire sprinklers and electrical systems, with many other improvements well underway, according to the website. While most of the entrances remain open, and the majority of the foot traffic flow-disrupting work having been completed, the east entrance remains closed. The north entrance is planned to close around Nov. 9 when its granite steps arrive, according to the website.
“The project is going well, with work on track to be completed by the end of the year,” said Dan Ewart, vice president for infrastructure and chief information officer. “We are pleased with the work performed by the contractor. The work on the north entry mosaic was especially exacting, with talented artisans brought in to restore the historic tiled artwork.”
Construction has caused some concern for faculty members who spend most of their time in the Admin Building.
“The fumes and the dust and other detritus have made the air almost unbreathable, and I have had to relocate,” said associate professor of history Ellen Kittell, who spends her time in the Admin Building. “I have students who cannot come to my office because they have respiratory problems. I would have appreciated an announcement as to the possible air quality at certain specific times.”
However, not all faculty have expressed the same concerns.
“It has not been a problem,” said Steve Smith, clinical assistant professor of journalism.
Smith said he always came in and out of the back of the building, and never encounters the bulk of the construction.
Professor Sean Quinlan, chair of the history department, explains his own predicament.
“I’m very happy that they’re doing it,” Quinlan said. “Being a historian, I like historical preservation. I certainly also sympathize with people — the students and faculty — whose routines and studies and work environment have been disrupted by this work, as necessary as it is.”
Quinlan explained how, due to the nature of his work, he is affected very little by the construction.
Due to the restoration nature of the project, despite various inconveniences and delays, many find that the project’s benefits outweigh the downsides.
“I think it’ll be worth it,” said Quinlan, recognizing the difficult nature of the project.
Kittell stated whether it will be worth it “depends on damage to the lungs,” though she said she respects the nature of the project itself.
“Things of value take time,” Kittell said.
Christopher Graham can be reached at email@example.com