Campus construction projects to stay on schedule despite shutdown

Campus construction projects remain on schedule. (File photo by Dene Dryden | Collegian Media Group)

Among the 30 construction projects occurring across Kansas State’s campus, construction continues despite the shutdown of the campus.

Diana Hutchison, director of the Department of Campus Planning and Project Management, said contractors have shown continued progress on all construction projects.

“Because of the pandemic, they’re having to follow KDHE and CDC guidelines for social distancing,” Hutchison said.

Contractors are still looking at how a reduced workforce is going to impact schedules, but projects are continuing to move forward. Hutchison said the contractors believe they can complete their projects within the time frames that are allotted.

When employees are coming onto the job site, contractors have been asking if they have a fever, monitoring if someone appears to be sick and sending them home and enforcing cleaning protocols in high-touch areas. Contractors are also making sure there are hand-washing or sanitizing stations so workers can wash their hands on a regular basis.

One of the biggest challenges is being able to procure new furniture that is needed in some buildings since furniture manufacturers have been shut down. Hutchison said other materials will not be delayed.

“Contractors are extremely resourceful and they still try to figure out how can we keep things moving and how can we keep forward progress going on our sides,” Hutchison said.

Hutchison said contractors are used to delays that come along and are very good at forecasting and putting a plan into place to keep construction on schedule.

With the larger projects on campus like Hale Library and the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center, it is easy for workers to practice social distancing with a lot of square footage to work in. The Multicultural Student Center being an open space also helps.

Contractors have also taken advantage of the campus being closed down to get materials delivered to sites. Usually, they don’t have time due to mass amounts of students or faculty needing to walk through or around a site. With an empty campus, supplies can be delivered right to the sites.

“We have been trying to get even more projects priced out, under contract, and started because we know that we have the ability to get contractors in to those buildings because we don’t have to wait for the summer time frame window to do some of those projects in those buildings,” Hutchison said. “So we are trying to plan more of those projects out and get them out of the way.”

Hutchison says she is impressed with how the contractors have been responsive to new guidelines, but still trying to keep things moving forward.