Closures, Outages During Construction

After closing the Spine for more than four weeks, shutting off a main water line to seven buildings and blocking off the southern end of Pioneer Street, the construction of the new science building on campus might experience more delays than previously expected.

Christine Cano, project and space manager at California Lutheran University, said the construction schedule might be open to more delays because of tree roots found during excavation.

“The courtyard had trees and bushes in it [before construction began], so every bit of dirt had roots and bits of roots scattered everywhere that you don’t want underneath the new construction,” Cano said.

However, Senior Project Manager Valerie Crooks said the roots have no effect on the closure of Pioneer Street.

“[We are] not supposed to be shutting Pioneer Street completely,” said Project Superintendent Steven Johnson  of W.E. O’Neil Construction company. “We shut off half the street and leave the other half open to cars that are passing through, but we would like to recommend and ask that students go on the other side of the sidewalk where we’re working. But we will always allow students and vehicles.”

Eric Waite, general contractor of W.E. O’Neil, said the construction crew is trying to add traffic control signs to prevent students from falling into the holes in the street.

On Oct. 22, Associate Vice President of Planning and Services Ryan Van Ommeren sent an email to students, faculty and staff notifying them of a water outage that would affect seven buildings including Peters Hall, Ahmanson Science Center, the Hanson House, ALLIES in STEM, Academic Services, the Bell House and the Pioneer House.

Additionally, Van Ommeren’s email warned of potential issues with fire alarms in four buildings “as pressure changes in the fire sprinkler service could set off an alarm.”

The buildings included the Ahmanson Science center, Soiland Humanities building, Overton Hall and SBET.

For the buildings that were left without water service, Van Ommeren said the restrooms in the Swenson Center would not be affected and a temporary restroom would be set up near the fenced entrance to the D Building.

Van Ommeren’s email said that although the water outage had been “scheduled for some time,” the planning and services team had “very recently learned that field conditions will force greater impacts to campus water service than was previously planned.”

Crooks said the main water line that was shut down Oct. 22 “reached its limit” because it is connected to several buildings on campus, including Jamba Juice.

“We had to put in new utilities [on Monday] in connection to the new building so it can get its own separate fire and water services. The new building will also have domestic water, sewer and gas services,” Crooks said.

Crooks said the new science building will be named the “Swenson Science Center,” after the late James “Jim” Swenson, making it the second building on campus to be named after him.

Swenson gave nearly $12 million toward new building initiatives on campus during his time on the Board of Regents. Crooks said the board and Cal Lutheran President Chris Kimball voted on the name of the new building.

Waite said he “does not see as many delays in the near future,” since a steel base for the building has already been laid.

On Sept. 7, Van Ommeren sent an email to students, faculty and staff about a four-week closure affecting the Spine near SBET. The email said the Spine was estimated to be closed from Sept. 10 to Oct. 5.

The walkway still remains closed to pedestrians as of Oct. 29.

James Alfaro