By Trish Nguyen, Staff Writer—
Despite campus closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, construction crews continue to work towards the completion of the Lupton building, set to be finished this summer.
Precautionary measures in compliance with what is recommended by officials have been implemented at the construction site to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease, such as hand sanitizing stations and distancing the workers in the 120,000 square foot building.
“Because of the size [of Lupton Hall], the workers are able to stay apart at any time so they already, in a sense, they have that social distance,” Director of Construction Services Danny West said. “Construction workers don’t want to be next to each other, because it’s less efficient… so they traditionally tend to have their workers in separate locations.”
The general contractors that supply the workers for Lupton Hall construction are informing West that construction will continue, but they encourage workers to stay home if they feel ill.
The university is not requiring the construction workers to continue, but they will not be paid for their leave if they choose to stay home.
The current social distancing guidelines have also caused West to manage his staff differently.
“We’ve went to alternating schedules, and my project coordinators–we only have about one here at a time. We alternate with skills, so we maximize the social distancing within our office,” West said. “We have the fewest amount of people possible out of my crew. Four out of six are working from home.”
The caution extends to the entirety to of the Facilities Planning and Management Office, which is off-duty, West said.
Nevertheless, the Lupton Hall construction project is still expected to be complete by the fall semester of 2020.
The Records Office has already begun to schedule classes for the upcoming semester in Lupton Hall, which will house the College of Arts and Sciences, specifically the Department of Communication, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature, and Department of Philosophy and Religion.
If the Lupton building is not complete at the start of the fall semester, other buildings will need to accommodate for the classes that are assigned to Lupton Hall, as it has been in previous semesters, but according to West that situation is highly unlikely.
The lack of students on campus has been beneficial to Lupton Hall construction and other projects in some ways.
“There are not as many restrictions where [the construction workers] can position cranes and things like that, because [the university] is not having students and faculty on campus,” West said. “It’s just giving me a little bit of relief in certain areas. We’ve been able to get these things sorted out, or [else] we [would have] had to wait until the summer before we could’ve pulled it off.”