ACRONYM Q&A about the Residence Hall Renovation Project for Summer 2014, with Rich Busby, Director of Operations for Professional Field Services. Conducted by Shreya Shanker ’14.
Editor’s note: You can read a condensed summary by Shreya Shanker at her article on renovations.
1. Q: “What are the exact plans for the schedule of IMSA in the year 2014? I have heard of breaks being shortened and summer vacation being elongated in order to make time for the renovations, but I want to make sure that I am reporting the true plans to the student body, of course. ”
A: In general, the goal is to maximize the Summer 2014 “construction window” while still maintaining workable schedules for the next academic year, and the subsequent academic year. The schedules have not been finalized as of this writing. However, the effects of the residence hall renovation project will drive decisions about IMSA’s schedule for both the 2013/14 and 2014/15 academic years. There are two specific objectives driving these decisions:
a) To enable construction to start as soon as possible. As a result, the desired outcome for the 2013/14 schedule will be to end the academic year sooner.
b) To enable construction to continue as long as possible. To this end, the leadership team is looking for possible ways to start the 2014/15 academic year a bit later than usual.
The recommended schedule for 2013/14 Academic Calendar is ready to be presented to the IMSA Board for confirmation. There is a “first reading” in January and a “second reading” in February which allows for time to make revisions, if needed. The final 2013/14 calendar will be approved by the IMSA Board and made available in February. In the 2013-2014 draft that is being shared with the IMSA Board, breaks are being shortened in the spring term and summer vacation is elongated for students in order to provide the longest “construction window” possible.*
*Note: A Special “Thanks” goes out to Principal Sharp, for providing an update about the Academic Calendar!
2. Q: “Additionally, was there a plan for half of the halls to be renovated in the summer of 2013? Why are we doing this in the summer of 2014?”
A: Although funds were technically available for 2012/13 construction, the process to prepare for construction takes approximately 18 months. The funding for our renovations comes from the State of Illinois and we must follow their process for building renovations. The first step in that process is to hire an Architecture and Engineering (A&E) firm. We are finalizing the A&E firm that will lead this effort at IMSA with the State’s Construction Development Board (CDB) on Tuesday, January 8, 2013. The A&E firm will be on campus throughout spring 2013 to look at our buildings, meet with students and staff, and prepare the construction design drawings needed for renovations. These will be completed by Fall, 2013. The A/E firm will then work with CDB to finalize bids for the final construction work so that the materials and the contractors are set and ready to go in May of 2014. In addition, we are making changes at IMSA to be ready for construction. These changes include alterations to the academic schedule, general operations, and Summer @ IMSA 2014 programs with residential components (e.g. Energy@IMSA, Excel, SEAMS ….etc) to provide the best “window for construction” while also offering IMSA services. The Summer 2014 time frame allows us to carefully prepare for construction, while minimizing disruption and other risks to IMSA students, staff and general operations.
3. Q: What State Agency is providing funding for the renovation project? What do they do?
A: The Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) is providing funding [http://www2.illinois.gov/cdb/about/Pages/default.aspx ] for the residence hall renovation project.
The CDB, as the funding agency, controls funding, guides us through the Architect/Engineering (A/E) firm selection process, provides oversight throughout the analysis, design, construction and inspection processes. The advantage for IMSA is that CDB, not IMSA, has to handle the management overhead associated with procurement and management of the sub-contractors involved in construction.
4. Q: What exactly is going to be renovated/improved in the halls? Who decides?
A: One of the first tasks of the Architect/Engineering firm will be to perform an analysis of the Res Halls. This will include asking students & other stakeholder for feedback, as well as onsite investigation (e.g. they may even do a selective “demolition” to determine the current condition of the building infrastructure behind the interior walls and ceilings). The final proposal (the renovation design) will be based on input from the internal IMSA community, as well as creative design recommendations from the A/E firm. In addition to the analysis work to be done, we have an existing list of known issues, derived from reports by students, Residence Life and IMSA Maintenance staff. These include issues ranging from infrastructure (e.g. hot water, Heating/AC, aging windows) to interior upgrades such as flooring, walls, lighting etc.
5. Q: Who will be doing the work?
A: An Illinois Architect/Engineering (A/E) firm will be responsible for managing the overall project, with oversight by the CDB. The A/E firm will be confirmed by the CDB Board of Directors on Jan 8, 2013 in Chicago. We will be able to share the name of the A/E firm after the Jan 8th meeting. On the topic of “who” will do the work: It is worth noting that we screened companies to identify those that have demonstrated success in completing summer construction projects. As the IMSA representative on the CDB Selection Committee, I looked for firms with credentials demonstrating their ability to complete residence hall renovation projects over summer breaks. In short, we looked for companies that best fit what we need to have done.
6. Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Yes. This is an opportunity to enhance the living conditions for students and staff residing on campus. We aim to maximize the value of the funding we have ($6.2M). This will require support and input from the entire IMSA Community as the A/E firm begins the initial analysis work with us this spring. So, If you are one of the students or staff invited to provide input, complete a survey, or attend a focus group related to Res Hall renovation… accept the invitation!