MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA Senior University Architect Jodi Ernst revealed designs for the Northeast Triangle at a housing forum Tuesday evening. Construction for the Northeast Triangle is expected to commence in October.
Senior University Architect Jodi Ernst revealed designs for the Northeast Triangle at a housing forum Tuesday evening. Construction for the Northeast Triangle is expected to commence in October.

Preliminary site work has commenced for the Northeast Triangle,as the university places new electrical gear near Reiss and White-Gravenor Halls, resulting in the closure of Tondorf Road.

“Right in the middle of [the Northeast Triangle] site is an electrical transformer that serves other buildings on campus, so you can’t just dig that site out, you actually have to install new gear,” Vice President for Facilities and Management Robin Morey told The Hoya. “Once that happens, then we can decommission it and de-energize it in the demolition and excavation of this site.”

Morey said that the Reiss pathway will close at the end of the month.
Vice President for Mission and Ministry Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., will bless the future site of the Northeast Triangle Residence Hall on Friday, Sept. 26 at 3 p.m.

Construction will begin with the trenching of the area between Reiss and the site at the end of September. Excavation will start in January and the foundation and floor should be in place by the end of March.

The university is also continuing to develop various other housing projects, including the conversion of the former Jesuit residence into student housing and the temporary conversion of two floors of the university hotel into dorms.

Jason Wilcoxon, project manager with Ayers Saint Gross for the conversion of the Jesuit Residence, spoke at length at an open house in the Healey Family Student Center’s social room Tuesday evening about the renovation of the former Jesuit Residence. Wilcoxon outlined decisions such as the incorporation of lofts because of abnormally high ceilings and the restoration, as opposed to replacement, of two staircases.

“Our job is to restore what we can and repurpose what we can,” Wilcoxon said. “So our goal is to get 148 student beds into the project, and to make it a really innovative and interesting space for the residents, and to give the students back some spaces that they can use and share and collaborate. But they’ll be mostly controlled by the students. So the spaces in this building, including the dining hall, will be for the students’ use.”

According to Wilcoxon, the old Jesuit dining hall will not have the same function in the new building, but will instead serve as a more general student space. Administrators have not decided what will be done with that space, but it is expected to resemble the main area of the new HFSC.

Construction will begin on the repurposed Ryan and Mulledy Halls, which do not yet have permanent names, toward the end of 2014.

“We are now complete with all of the first phase of [demolition] and abatement of the building. So basically, the building is pretty much gutted right now, and it’s been cleaned, and right now we’re getting ready to start the next phase of construction, which is the structural demolition,” Greg Davis, project manager at Manhattan Construction Company, said, “Over the next couple of months we’re going to be focusing on the structure of the building and getting it ready to build back the interior partitions and put the finishes back in the building.”

Apartments, which will constitute the majority of living set-ups in the building, range from four-bed semi-suites with lofts to eight-bed apartments with balconies to a nine-bed ground floor apartment.

Architects also highlighted that, upon completion of the renovation, the area will become more handicapped accessible, since the cut-through to Dahlgren Quad and new access to Old North Way by Gervase will actually aid the overall accessibility of the campus.

Morey told The Hoya that the renovation of the hotel will likely start in May and is expected to take about two months.

“The construction is minimal,” Morey said. “The concept now is that we’ll enter from the esplanade level to try to separate the normal hotel clientele from the students. If that’s the case, then we’re talking about making some renovations on the esplanade for how the students get in, probably some laundry room type things for the students.”

Two floors of the hotel will be repurposed as student housing for only one year before being reverted back for hotel use. Morey said that he was not sure of the financial impact of the hotel construction and the revenue loss from losing two floors of hotel space for a year.

“We know that there is financial impact. I don’t know that we know the exact details of that,” Morey said.

Other spaces around campus will also be optimized for the 2015-2016 academic year. Morey said that plans for space optimization will not be finalized until the university determines how many students can be housed in the hotel.

“I thought the presentations were really informative, and it really seems like a lot of thought has gone into making sure both new housing projects reflect what students want in a living space,” Patrick Sullivan (SFS ’17), who attended the open house, said. “Both students and administrators raised valid concerns about the projects, and these concerns were more than adequately addressed or noted by the architects and construction managers.”

Sullivan, who heard noise from the construction of the HFSC while living in New South last year, still has doubts about the university’s expectations.

“Both of these projects seem to have really demanding timetables. Looking at the delay in opening the HFSC, I wonder whether they will actually be completed on-time and under budget,” Sullivan said. “Also, with these timetables and the sheer amount of construction going on around campus, I think we will see noise problems no matter what. The university should take efforts to minimize these as much as it can, but at the end of the day it’s pretty much unavoidable with these sorts of projects. I just hope a better job is done than with the New South construction last year.”

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