Despite broken bricks, patio nearly done

After nearly a year of construction, the renovation of the Union Patio is expected to conclude within a month in spite of an aesthetic glitch on the road toward completion.

While many of the major renovations of the project, which began in the summer of 2007, have been completed, some students have noticed crumbling on the red pavers that have been used on the patio pathways.

"The red bricks look like they're disintegrating and I feel like they're going to have to redo it all over again," said junior Rebecca Coons. "They've done so much work all summer, and now it's just broken."

According to Jeffrey Kaplan, director of facilities planning and construction, the obvious reasons for the crumbling, such as from snow plows or salts, don't seem to be the reason for the pavers' decrepit appearance. The damage is an issue that Kaplan is currently investigating with the manufacturers of the product, rather than with the contractor, Babcock Enterprises.

"There is nothing in common about the damage except for the color," Kaplan said. The manufacturer's representative came [April 8 or 9] to investigate. Babcock Enterprises does high quality work and has performed excellently on numerous campus projects, including the recently constructed Letchworth Road."

Results from this investigation, however, have not been obtained as of yet.

"The contractors are aware of the breakdown and that is to be corrected, as I understand," said Chip Matthews, director of the college union and activities. "Overall, I'm very pleased with the project. When I started to see the pavers break down, that was a bit concerning. But everything is so new, and so some problems are to be expected."

After several months of inactivity due to the winter weather, the construction team is scheduled to resume work on April 14. The team will focus on fixing the hill between Mary Jemison Dining Hall and the Union as well as additional landscaping. Kaplan expects the project to be completed by May 5.

The renovation is designed to link Mary Jemison and the main doors of the Union and include space for an outdoor patio for dining at Mary Jemison. The project, which is estimated to cost $1.2 million, was designed with the intention to enhance the outdoor space of students and faculty.

"It's nice to open up that whole area and make it handicap accessible for people. I'm really pleased with it," said Kaplan.

Some students, however, are slow in accepting the new renovations and are anxious for the final result.

"I don't see any difference so far," Coons said. "It's just a walkway. I'd rather it just be finished already."