The N.C. Department of Insurance recently reviewed campus construction projects at Kenan Stadium, Boshamer Stadium and Wilson Library, resulting in delayed construction for one project and altering plans and upgrades for others.
The most pressing review concerned the Boshamer renovation project.
Willie Scroggs, senior associate athletics director for facilities and operations, said construction on Boshamer came to a halt when the Department of Insurance required an unexpected review process.
Since construction on the Boshamer project was stopped for five weeks, the expected completion date of the building has been pushed back from this fall to December. Michael Bunting, assistant associate athletic director of facility planning and management, said officials expect to be in the new building in December and to have use of the playing field by February.
“There was some disagreement about when we had to have certain things approved before we could continue with construction,” Scroggs said.
In the past, Scroggs said, the standard for a project such as Boshamer has been to have a review at the end of the process. In this case, the Department of Insurance required the University to have approvals in hand before construction started.
“They felt like our project was ahead of some final approvals, and they wanted time to review and make sure we were not ahead of any approvals, so that’s what we did,” Bunting said. “We spent that time reviewing those situations. In the end, there were no issues. Everything has been resolved. There was nothing with the project that was noncompliant. They needed the time to review.”
Still, the delay in construction will have some financial impact.
“The timeline for completion has been jeopardized, and the added cost has not yet been determined, but there certainly is added cost,” Scroggs said.
Bruce Runberg, associate vice chancellor for facilities planning, said that the Boshamer project is about 95 percent complete and that planners are developing ways to make up for lost time.
“We don’t anticipate any other stoppages for that,” Bunting said. “We have our final approvals from that agency now, so the project will be able to continue to completion.”
The athletics department is trying to avoid a similar situation with construction plans for the expansion of Kenan Memorial Stadium. The expansion project would add one floor to the west end of the stadium. Scroggs said that at one time the plans for Kenan included adding two floors, but planners thought it would be difficult to comply with the conditions that would come with adding both floors.
“If we had put a sixth floor to the building, it would have necessitated us to do extensive work on the other floors,” Scroggs said. “It would make the building a high-rise, and because of the already existing floors, we’d have to condition the space on floors one and two to meet the code for the high-rise.”
As the plans move forward, construction could begin after the fall football season and would be complete by August 2009; there were concerns the extra work necessitated by a sixth floor could stretch the project beyond the start of the 2009 football season.
“We have submitted proposals to the North Carolina State Construction Office and the Department of Insurance to make sure we are in compliance before we are in construction,” Scroggs said.
Runberg said that reviews by the Department of Insurance are a common part of the construction process.
“We work with the Department of Insurance on several phases of the design construction process initially, and all the projects of the University tend to go to them for design review,” Runberg said. “They have people who during construction come around to the projects and will inspect, particularly with electrical construction.”
Runberg said that the Department of Insurance inspects construction projects for safety and uses reviewers with specialized knowledge that almost always results in some type of refinement or change to the project.
“The fact that they find these things is good, because we want to find them on the front end of the design, not later,” Runberg said.
The Department of Insurance also has made recommendations for updating Wilson Library to the current fire code. Wilson was completed in 1929 and received major additions in 1952 and 1977. Library administrators have said the Department of Insurance at one point threatened to close the library because of code inconsistencies among the three sections.
The recommended changes to Wilson include installing two new exit stairways, new exit signs throughout the building, upgraded smoke detectors and fire alarms, and additional fire sprinklers throughout the building.
Michael Pierce, the facility planner on the Wilson project, said updating Wilson to the current fire code is a standard step before future renovations and construction projects can take place.
According to Pierce, 90 percent of the work will take place in nonpublic areas of Wilson, and construction is scheduled to start in fall 2009. Pierce said that the project should take six to 12 months and have little effect on the public’s ability to use the library.
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