Work continues on new Innovation Center

No students on campus allows for aggressive schedule

Construction+continues+on+the+Innovation+Center+during+online+instruction.+

Cathedran file photo

Construction continues on the Innovation Center during online instruction.

Liam Eifert, Reporter

The construction of the Innovation Center, currently slated to open next September, proceeded throughout the school’s in-person classes and will keep making progress while the many of the classrooms sit empty.

Chief Operating Officer Mr. Rolly Landeros said the switch to online instruction last March allowed for the project to start two and a half weeks earlier than originally scheduled.” And with the switch to eLearning for the rest of the semester, the construction team has received a boon from what Landeros called “less traffic and campus activity that allows them to be a little more aggressive with the construction schedule.”

Additionally, Landeros said, “We’ve been uncharacteristically fortunate of hardly ever having any rain, and when you’re doing site work that makes a big difference.” Landeros clarified, though, that even with all that good luck, “site challenges that were on the courtyard created a delay in the project that put us four weeks behind schedule, so even though we started two and a half weeks early we ended up being fourweeks behind because of the challenges.”

However, the construction team now is seeing similar benefits to last spring without students and teachers on campus. “We can be a little bit more aggressive with the schedule. They can bring in more heavy duty equipment that would usually be reserved for Mission Mondays, so their goal is to eventually catch up with that four-week delay,” Landeros said.

The biggest thing that they have to do before winter hits is they have to seal the building as much as they can.”

— Mr. Rolly Landeros

If this lost time can be made up, then the Innovation Center opening date could be moved back to before school starts next year or just as school starts in August. Landeros said he should know more about an opening date at the end of winter, a season that does present some challenges for any building being built. Landeros said,  “The biggest thing that they have to do before winter hits is they have to seal the building as much as they can so that way they can protect, and they have to put the roof on, they have to put sealants to prevent the weather getting into the building.”

Landeros added, “There’s still a lot of masonry brick work that they have to do, that they’re going to try to get done as much as weather permits, so depending on what the freeze temperature is, they’re goning work up until as much as they can with what the weather allows them to.”

Even during the heart of winter, the construction crew will still be hard at work on the project. They will focus on the construction of the new food court, walls and masonry work. Furthermore, Landeros explained, “There’s a thing called MEP — mechanical, electrical and plumbing. They do a lot of that equipment install once the building is enclosed.”

The team achieved a milestone when they finished all the concrete pours for all three floors. The current objective, Landeros said, is “finishing the roof and the roof layman rubber membrane and then attaching it to the building.”

Some outside components of the construction will be left for the spring and summer. By then what’s left will be what Landeros called “a lot of the finish work.” He said, “All the glass panels will not be installed until at the earliest March or April, and that’s when you really start to see the finished product. A lot of the detail work that we want to wait until the temperatures are consistently more warm so it doesn’t affect the actual scaffolding.”

Landeros said that the final phase will be when work starts to put the courtyard back into place.

And while that courtyard work is months away, other work will be done well before then that will be visible – literally – throughout the campus.

By the time students are scheduled to come back to campus in January, all of the lights on the campus will be LEDs. That will include all the classroom, hallway lights, courtyard and parking lot lights. Landeros also noted that the lack of students on campus also will allow the staff “be a little bit more aggressive on” general maintenance projects all over the school.

With all this work being done in students’ absence, Landeros made one thing clear. He said, “By the time students come back, the (Innovation Center) will look very different.”