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June 16, 2017
The Donald G. Bollinger Memorial Student Union construction is scheduled to wrap up by June 30, 2017.
During the spring semester, students, faculty and staff were guided to alternate entrances of the student union as the set of stairs by the main entrance of the union, Student Programming Association/Student Government Association offices and the side entrance of the union were under construction.
“We’re replacing three sets of stairs,” Terry Braud Jr., vice president for finance and administration, said. “Additionally, we also had a brick wall with a design that did not necessarily match the ornamental iron work that we had beginning at Galliano Hall and continuing on.”
The project was divided into phases. The first phase involved repairing the stairs to the main entrance of the union.
“The contractor initially ran into some issues with the first set of stairs,” Braud said. “That phase of the construction was wrapped up some time in March.”
According to Braud, southern Louisiana often experiences construction delays due to the unpredictable weather and faulty foundation. The repairs to the main entrance stairs required the use of cement, which could not be used while it was raining.
“Sometime you can work through unexpected weather and sometimes you can’t,” Braud said. “Fortunately, we didn’t have a lot of foundation problems on this project.”
The plan was to repair the stairs of the main entrance before continuing on with the project. The stairs by the SPA/SGA offices and the side entrance of the union are still to be completed.
“[The contractors] began some of the initial work like drawings and measurements,” Braud said. “They should be bringing in the steps by the SPA/SGA offices and bookstore shortly.”
Braud hopes the community will enjoy the aesthetic changes to the stairs and wall.
“The stairs by the SPA/SGA offices and on the side by the bookstore are going to be metal stairs as opposed to cement stairs,” Braud said. “They’re going to be a little more attractive and tie into the ornamental work. Everything will sort of blend aesthetically when we’re complete with the project.”
He also believes the changes to the steps and the removal of the concrete wall will correct safety issues.
“Additionally, [the steps] are going to provide a safer access to the building,” Braud said. “The ornamental work is not only going to be about aesthetics but also solve a safety issue. In theory, before someone could have hidden behind the solid wall. Now everything’s going to be more open.”
Although the project is set to be complete by June 30, administration hoped it would’ve been completed before that mark.
“The project wasn’t scheduled to end until the end of this month,” Braud said. “We were hoping that it could have possibly finished a little earlier but at this point we’re not really behind on the project as long as it can wrap up before June 30.”
The architects on the project provide weekly updates on the construction progress.
“Right now there seems to be a little lull in the action mainly because they are waiting on materials to show up,” Braud said. “Once those materials come in then they can move pretty quickly.”
Braud assures that construction will be finished by the time fall semester begins.
“I don’t see [construction] necessarily going past July,” Braud said. “Even if we tipped past June and into July, we’re definitely in good shape for fall entry.”
Once the construction ends, Braud would like for there to be a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reveal the repairs and changes.
“We appreciate the patience from the students and the partnership we had with Barnes and Noble and Sodexo,” Braud said. “These long term improvements will hopefully be something everybody can appreciate.”