Since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Colorado State University teaching, learning and, in many cases, working online, the campuses look more like ghost towns than bustling communities of higher education and research. Except, that is, at construction sites, where work is proceeding, and some projects have actually been pushed ahead of schedule.
“I think the only positive thing to come out of this pandemic is the fact that we are able to keep our construction projects moving forward and we are helping the local economy by keeping these hardworking crews on the job when so many of our local residents have lost jobs and income,” said Tim Kemp, assistant director for engineering and capital construction for Facilities Management at CSU.
Kemp said that the university and all project contractors and work crews are following guidelines established by the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to ensure that workers and the community reduce the possibility of transmitting the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The Colorado state architect has modified policies and procedures to encourage social distancing at construction sites, Facilities Management is having ongoing dialogue with peer institutions of higher education across the state of Colorado discussing best practices, and CSU’s capital construction staff has moved to virtual coordination meetings to abide by social distancing recommendations, Kemp said.
Projects on track; some accelerated
Since the main campus is nearly deserted, work on two projects that will require closing roads is ahead of schedule and should be completed early:
- Hughes Way – Work to widen Hughes Way south of the intramural fields, add parking and designated bike and walking trails, and turn the street into a two-way east-west connector between Meridian Avenue and Shields Street began in mid-March and the entire road was scheduled to be closed for several weeks in mid-May. With the decrease in pedestrian and vehicle traffic, Kemp said the current plan is to close Hughes Way from Shields to Meridian on April 6, which will allow the road to reopen earlier in the summer than originally planned.
- GeoX – Fences will be erected around several intramural fields and drilling begun on what will be the largest ground-source heating and cooling system in Colorado, and one of the largest in the western United States. Fences were originally scheduled to go up in mid-May, but the project will now begin about six weeks ahead of schedule, in April.
Additional construction projects remain on schedule.
- Nutrien Agricultural Sciences Building (Shepardson Hall) construction and Amy Van Dyken Way/University Avenue/Parking lot closures – As construction on Shepardson Hall continues, Libbie Coy Way will remain closed with pedestrian access available on the east side of the street. Amy Van Dyken Way will reopen in July, but University Avenue between Amy Van Dyken Way and Libbie Coy Way will remain closed, and between July to mid-August, University will be closed from Amy Van Dyken Way to Mason Street.
- Lagoon construction – The sidewalk from the Veteran’s Bridge to the LSC will remain closed as crews work on the lagoon and the west lawn. Pedestrians should use the bike path. Entire project should be done by summer 2020.
- Temple Grandin Equine Center– Work on the Temple Grandin Equine Center has begun. The project is scheduled to be completed in January 2021.
- Center for Vector-Borne and Infectious Diseases– Construction on the center will continue through the summer with little or no impact to roads or parking. Substantial completion of the project is scheduled for Oct. 1.
- Johnson Family Equine Hospital– Building demolition, utilities and road work are currently underway, and construction is expected to begin soon on the $34.6 million project, which will cover six acres north of the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital in the Veterinary Health Complex on CSU’s South Campus. Buildings have been demolished and utility work will be completed by the end of March. Curb and road paving will require closing some access roads from March through June. The site will be fenced in April. Parking should not be affected throughout construction.
For more information about construction projects, parking lot and road closures and detours, go to the Construction and Parking News page.