Quad Commons construction update


Construction site w. studentsAs the steel goes up four stories high on a new residence hall and poles jut into the sky that will become the striking glass entry-way to the new student center, campus life goes on around the construction sites.

Saint Michael's College is moving forward with the $30 million Quad Commons project situated in the space between the existing four quadrangle residence halls. The project, started in May 2012, slated for completion by August 2013, consists of a 40,000 square foot student center and a 43,400 square foot residence hall.

New students moved into campus last month, skirting mounds of earth and a huge fenced construction site. But the scores of upper level students, athletic team members and orientation leaders who helped new students move in turned a potentially harrowing ordeal into smooth sailing.

"Move-in was amazing; the helpers hauled trunks, fans, bicycles, computers, luggage - all the things students bring to college, with speed and good spirits," said Lou DiMasi, assistant dean of students/director of residence life. "And skirting around the building site to get to classes now seems no problem for the residents of the quad dorms," he said.

Construction update:

To allow students to get more sleep, contractors continue their agreement to begin work at 8 AM, rather than the customary start time of 7 AM. The relationship between students and workers has been smooth and cordial.

The project progresses on schedule, reported David Cutler, director of physical plant. The project will be enclosed by mid to late November enabling electrical work to be done.

Re-routing roads continues around the site, with a new road between the Tarrant Recreation Center and the townhouse residences now operational. More lighting will soon be put up on that road. New walkways will be put in place temporarily through the winter season.

The fence around the re-grown grass of the green in front of the library will come down on October 15, restoring that area for campus use and recreation. That area had been under construction for the installation of the geothermal heat pump system that powers the new buildings.

Improvements to existing quad residences

Reports are that students are very pleased with the completely renovated bathrooms in the four existing quad residences. These were entirely revamped and refurbished, as well as divided so that there are now 64 bathrooms throughout these older residences.

All new, energy-saving LED lighting has been installed in the hallways of these four buildings, brightening and softening the light quality throughout the four, four-story residence halls.

VERMONT COMPANIES make-up the Quad Commons construction project team:

  • Freeman French Freeman of Burlington, architects
  • Dubois & King of Williston, structural engineer
  • L.N. Consulting of Winooski, Mechanical/Electrical Engineer
  • Donald L. Hamlin Consulting Engineers of Essex Junction, Civil Engineering & Permitting
  • SE Group of Burlington, landscape architect
  • PC Construction of Burlington, construction manager

Campus "Front Door"

The Quad Commons with landscaping and pathways will become a new "Front Door" to Saint Michael's. The student center will open with a striking four story grand-façade entryway that repeats the shape of Saint Michael's historic forebear, Pontigny Cathedral in France, which is also echoed in the shape of the Hoehl Welcome Center on campus.

The Quad Commons student center, with open, naturally bright spaces, will be positioned to invite students in, from existing residence halls, as well as from the attached 105-bed new residence, thus becoming a central focal point for the campus, linked also by walkways to the SMC Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel.

Linking the new Residence Hall for upper level students to the traditional quad dorms housing first-year students will encourage increased interaction and mentoring between them.

The Quad Commons will contain the following:

Student center:
1st floor: a café, social lounge, acoustically private, yet visually open digital lounge
2nd floor: a fitness center, meeting space, student services offices, game lounge, radio station, table seating
3rd floor: a multi-purpose room with lecture-style seating for 400, or table seating for 225; meditation or interfaith room, solarium with mezzanine

Residence hall:
On four levels this structure will provide 105 beds: 15 single rooms, 2 rooms for RAs, and 22 four-person suites.

Energy-efficiency features, including geothermal heat pump system

  • The Quad Commons will be built with attention to highest efficiency design.
  • The building envelop will use energy modeling software to make best use of energy supply.
  • The HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) systems are based on a geothermal heat pump system with fully integrated components. The underground support for the system will go beneath the green in front of the SMC Library.

"Geothermal is as close to free cooling as you can get," said James P. Farrington, AIA, Saint Michael's associate director of facilities/college architect, and on-campus coordinator of the project.

Other 'green' features:

  • The roof insulation values are 50 percent greater than minimal code compliance. And the roof is designed to be fitted in future with solar panels that would produce about 15 percent of the modeled building electrical usage.
  • The large window spaces use high-performance triple pane technology for highest occupant comfort and energy efficiency.
  • Lighting is 60 percent high efficiency fluorescent light fixtures, and 40 percent LED (light emitting diode) lights which reduce energy use by approximately 30 percent.
  • Daylight dimming technology is used throughout central areas to balance interior lighting output with natural daylight.
  • Occupancy sensors in the student center will turn off lights when unoccupied.
  • The building design is modeled to perform 55 percent better than a current energy-code compliant building.

The tradition of hospitality, developed from the start in 1904 by Saint Michael's founding order of priests, the Society of St. Edmund, has inspired the commitment to expand the welcoming aspects of the college with these new structures.

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