Crews make up for lost time
HUNTINGTON -- The process of putting cement to steel has been hindered by 2014's winter weather at the site of a future athletic and academic complex on Marshall University's campus.
Construction crews are working weekends and extra hours to compensate for 28 days of work lost since January to weather conditions at the site on 3rd Avenue near the Joan C. Edwards Stadium, said Ron May, director of planning and facilities at Marshall.
When the weather is snowy, icy or even too windy, it is too dangerous for crew members to work atop the 70-foot tall structure with metal roofing, May said.
"It's affected the indoor practice facility more than it has the (Arthur Weisberg Family) Applied Engineering Complex or the Visual Arts Center," May said. "You can't walk around and work on a roof that's 70 feet in the air when there's four inches of snow and ice. With the roof panels, they are 40 feet long, and they can be like huge kites when it gets windy."
Even with the weather setbacks, the practice facility is about 45 percent completed, May said.
Crews have been working on as many indoor aspects of the construction during the inclement weather as possible, including installing the HVAC system, plumbing and stone base for the running track and practice football field in the indoor practice facility.
Projects like pouring cement and structural reinforcement are underway inside the structure nearest to 3rd Avenue, which will house the Sports Medicine Transitional Research Center, the Buck Harless Student-Athlete Academic Center and the Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame.
To date, the bulk of the work on the complex has gone into the $24 million practice facility, which will be 105,000 square feet in size and contain a 120-yard foot ball field, six-lane track and other practice facilities for Marshall's track, baseball, softball and other teams.
May said access to the practice facility site would be hindered when construction began on the academic facility, so he and contractors made sure the structural frame and groundwork were completed on the practice facility before starting construction on the academic facility in December.
The $6.5 million academic and sports medicine complex will contain about 40,000 square feet within two stories. The academic center within will be equipped with 120 computers for Marshall's 375 student-athletes
Fireproof paneling is being installed in each portion of the complex, which then will be treated with a chemical to make the structure fire resistant, May said. The paneling is very visible to people traveling on 3rd Avenue, May said.
"That's the one thing I get a lot of questions about is the fireproof wall panels," May said. "What people are seeing now is the first layer of paneling. That gets treated, and that isn't what the exterior is going to look like; it's going to be covered up."
He said the practice facility will have a metal exterior while the academic facility will have a brick, cement and steel exterior, consistent with the aesthetic of the other buildings on campus.
May said he is confident that construction crews will be able to make up for lost time and turf will go down in the indoor practice facility in June, in time for the facility to be finished by its projected August 2014 completion date.
The academic and sports medicine building still is set to be complete in 2015, May said.
Follow Reporter Lacie Pierson on Twitter @LaciePiersonHD.
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