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The next four years: Construction on campus

| Freshman Press Reporter

Freshmen expecting a picture-perfect campus are in for a surprise as three major construction projects begin across campus.

Olin Library, the Overpass connecting the Danforth Campus to the Delmar Loop and the East End will see some of the most significant disruptions.

CONSTRUCTION ONLINE 1Brandon Wilburn | Student Life

The three projects will close down parts of campus for large portions of the academic calendar and cost Washington University approximately $285 million, but administrators hope the end product will make up for these drawbacks.

The Olin Library project is slated to wrap up in the fall of 2017, Sarah Laaker, manager of library user space planning, said.

Some of those additions will allow more space for moving and stationary exhibits, such as a University-owned copy of the Declaration of Independence. A new entrance will be added to the north side of the building so students coming from the Delmar Loop won’t need to walk around the entire library.

Until the Olin renovations are complete, construction noises may be heard throughout. Whispers Cafe, a popular campus coffee shop on the first floor of Olin, will be closed until the construction is finished. Construction will occur from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Those [hours] may fluctuate at times based on construction progress…we are also going to be posting any exceptions to that on our webpage,” Laaker said.

To make up for the inconveniences of ongoing construction, the library will be open 24/7 rather than 24/5, and extra vending machines will be added to the library in the Ginkgo Room. Free earplugs will also be provided throughout the library.

The tables from Whispers, which were often utilized for informal and collaborative discussions, have been relocated to the first floor of Olin. When the project is finished, Whispers will house 30 additional seats on the first floor and seating on its second floor.

Despite the construction, there will still be plenty of study spaces around campus.

“We have nine other libraries on this campus, so there are other places to study if you are bothered by noise during the day or if you’re looking for more seating,” Laaker said.

While Olin Library renovations face a condensed schedule, supervisors of the Overpass and East End projects anticipate a lengthier timeline.

The Overpass is expected to be completed during the summer of 2018, Jamie Kolker, university architect and associate vice chancellor, said. Students will still be able to cross the Overpass throughout the duration of the construction.

The most expansive of the three projects on campus is the East End expansion, which will stretch from the day after commencement 2017 to the summer of 2019.

“It’s going to be a very, very big hole and a very, very lot of construction going on at that end of the campus,” Kolker said.

The project focuses on five buildings: an expansion to the existing Kemper Art Museum, two new academic buildings, a welcome center and a building tentatively called “The Hub.”

The goal of The Hub is to be a central location for all of those making use of the new facilities. One of the main ideas for the building is for it to be a dining location.

The Hub will be located where the current Hoyt Drive exists, closer to the engineering graduate school, where the new Jubel Hall will stand. It will feature bicycle and commuter support with showers, lockers and more. The Hub’s upper level will house both the Environmental Studies program and the University’s office of sustainability.

Each of the four completely new buildings will have a minimum of LEED gold certification, but they are striving for platinum for each.