Walkway construction near completion

Photo by Emily Baucom

Story by Ashley Traylor, Staff writer

Construction on the walkway between the Price Doyle Fine Arts Complex and Waterfield Library is 80 percent finished and will be completed in the coming weeks, said Jamie Miller, project foreman.

Construction began June 22, after the project was approved by the Board of Regents.

Miller said depending on the weather, the project should be completed in another four weeks.

David Burdette, interim chief facilities officer, said they wanted the sidewalk in front of Waterfield completed by the start of school for safety reasons, but the project was delayed because of the weather.

“It was a bad summer,” Miller said. “We received close to 20 inches of rain.”

He said they lost about three weeks of work due to the weather.

Burdette said they walked the sidewalks and took pictures of the conditions a year ago. He said they knew their biggest project was to fix the sidewalk near Waterfield and Old Fine Arts Building.

Miller said because there were uneven bricks wheelchairs were getting damaged.

He said the sidewalks were damaged because bricks were laid onto the surface and then grew loose over time. The new sidewalks will use eight brick stamping of solid concrete because it holds up better.

“Above all else, we want our sidewalks to be safe, particularly for folks who are not as mobile,” Burdette said. “Safety is our number one priority.”

Miller said the sidewalk must be able to support fire trucks. There must be 8-12 inches of concrete poured, compared to 4-6 inches of concrete for an average driveway.

The sidewalk project was divided into three separate projects. The sidewalk near the bridge was repaired over spring break of last school year and the area in front of the Curris Center was repaired after May commencement. The third project is the ongoing construction in front of Waterfield.

“We are really replacing a street infrastructure. People have been on this campus a long time,” Burdette said. “15th Street use to go all the way through to Chestnut, and it doesn’t anymore.”

Burdette said the sidewalk construction has been continuous. Over the last two years, $100,000 was dedicated to sidewalk repair.

“We take sidewalk safety very seriously,” Burdette said. “When we get done, it is going to look beautiful.”