Sensenbrenner to reopen by March 5 after construction project concludes

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Infrastructure renovations to Johnston, Sensenbrenner and Marquette halls will include more student space among other changes, leaders of the construction project said.

The first wave of the project to renovate the three buildings is scheduled to be completed by March 5, when Sensenbrenner will be open for occupancy by the College of Arts & Sciences, but the entire process may not be completed until January 2015, when Marquette Hall is expected to be finished.

Charlie Haas, the project’s lead architect, said Sensenbrenner and Marquette halls will be torn down to their core, while replacing insulation and installing new floor layouts to fit the use of new occupants. The History Department will join the College of Arts & Sciences inside of Sensenbrenner at the end of the spring semester.

Tom Ganey, university architect and vice president of planning, and Richard Holz, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, pushed for more areas for students to work in Sensenbrenner and Marquette halls. Haas also emphasized the importance of providing student space.

“In both buildings there will be other lounge-like areas for students to study – casual spaces where you can work on whatever project you’re working on,” Haas said. “There are spaces in both buildings for seminars that will be available for seminars or the 35-person classroom.”

Haas said Marquette Hall will be renovated in phases to avoid obstructing the three main classrooms in the building. Work is being done on the lower level, first and third floors and should be completed by mid to late May, while the fourth floor will be finished by the summer and the final occupants of Marquette Hall will move into the building by January 2015.

The third building, Johnston Hall, has yet to undergo much work, aside from an already-renovated staircase, but Haas said construction on that building should begin over the summer.

“We’re doing a lot of planning and our hope is to be able to do all of the infrastructure updates to Johnston Hall next summer,” Haas said. “We’re basically going to shutdown the building and tackle all the floors of Johnston Hall in one summer and replace all of the heating and air conditioning and technology infrastructure.”

Haas said Johnston Hall’s appearance won’t look much different, but the building will change on a comfort and technological level. He said he hopes infrastructure work will be completed by August 2014.

Ganey said the decision was made more than a year and a half ago to renovate “historic core” buildings before beginning any new projects.

“These buildings are three gems that have been with the campus for (a) hundred years,” Ganey said. “We want to keep them around for another hundred years and no serious investment had been made into any of the three in approximately 35-50 years.”

One of the aspects of the construction is the closure of several walkways located between Johnston, Sensenbrenner and Marquette halls. Haas said the underpass below the Church of Gesu Parish Center should reopen by the end of the fall semester, while the other walkways should open when Sensenbrenner Hall’s construction is completed in March.