As director of the Office of Facilities Planning, Stewart and his small team are responsible for the multitude of renovations of buildings across campus, as well as the oversight of new construction. And with construction being a major focus on the Pittsburg State campus for the past several summers, it's a schedule he's getting used to.
"Each summer I feel like I'm seeing progress," said Stewart, who has eight major projects going on this month, as well as plans to begin a ninth come September. "Our priorities are the building envelopes - the doors, roofing, brick - and then we look inside at the mechanical systems. We have big goals."
As soon as classes wrapped up in the spring of 2009, the campus embarked on a frenzy of projects with the goal of having everything complete by the time new freshman moved into the dorms in August.
This summer looked much the same, with projects in Kelce, Porter, Russ, Whitesitt, Yates, Grubbs, and Trout Hall underway. Ranging from the replacement of windows and doors to roof repairs, electrical work and masonry rehabilitation, the projects varied in size and expense and were paid by a variety of sources, including state funds and federal stimulus dollars.
With only about 12 weeks to get the work done, construction and renovation projects have also resulted in the creation of hundreds of jobs and the hiring of nearly a dozen contracting companies.
One of the most visible projects, however, is the construction of the new Crimson Commons residence halls, a $10 million, five-building project that will house 200 students. Although the project has experienced some weather delays, university officials anticipate it to be complete this fall. Also this summer, the second of several existing residence halls was completely renovated.
It's a busy time, Stewart said, but its work that each year is making a big difference.
"When you start relocating classrooms and moving departmental offices, you get a lot of people involved," Stewart said. "It's busier every summer than it is at any other time during the year, and we appreciate everyone proactively doing what they need to do to keep PSU operational."
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