By Kaye Burnet | The Duquesne Duke
There were plenty of hard hats and bulldozers on campus this summer, as the Duquesne facilities management team executed several construction projects.
Returning students will notice a number of changes, including a completely renovated and refurbished Off-Ramp dining area and plenty of progress on the $4.5 million dollar black box theater being built next to the music school.
Rod Dobish, executive director of facilities management, said the most noticeable construction happened at the Off-Ramp, now dubbed “The Incline.” The space, on the first floor of the Student Union, was gutted and redesigned to match the style of the rest of the Union’s basement, with brighter lighting and colors.
There was also additional stonework added, along with new floors and seating arrangements. The Incline will feature a new pizza oven and a different menu. The renovations will be complete within the next 1-3 weeks.
“It’s a total transformation,” Dobish said. “When you go in, it’s a completely different look.”
Libermann Hall, which will serve as home to Duquesne’s first class of biomedical engineering students this fall, was brought up to safety code in the final phase of a three-year modernization, complete with fire detectors and water sprinklers.
Classrooms on the third and fifth floors of Rockwell Hall underwent improvements, as did floors nine, 10 and 11 in Towers dorm. The changes in Towers are part of a 10-year Living Learning Center Improvement Plan started in 2010, as are the St. Anne’s bathroom modernizations that were completed this summer.
The cooling ducts near the entrance to the Locust Garage will be moved to the top of the Forbes Garage in upcoming months, in a large square structure built atop the facility.
The first step of a multi-step plan to connect the Vickroy Hall cooling system to Duquesne’s central cooling system was finished this summer, which meant large chunks of pavement around the building had to be torn up and replaced.
The Student Union received a fresh coat of paint to highlight the building, Dobish said, and Academic Walk was torn up to replace utility tunnels, then re-paved with a crowned top to create less puddles when it rains.
With a week less of summer break due to changes in Duquesne’s academic calendar, Dobish and his team worked “frantically” to make repairs around campus and repaint sections of Living Learning Centers.
Dobish said he isn’t able to estimate the cost of the changes and repairs because some were part of multi-year projects. However, he said the facilities management budget for this year was similar to other years, and he had not noticed a large spending increase.