CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558
Numerous construction projects on campus this fall and beyond
STANFORD -- Welcome to the fall quarter - here's your hard hat.
For new and returning students, faculty and staff, it must have sunk in by now. There are construction projects and related detours, noise and general disruption in almost every corner of the campus.
The long-term good news is that by the turn of the century Stanford will have completely recovered from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The university will boast a new museum, a state-of-the-art Science and Engineering Quad, and two new graduate residences to complement renovated older dorms and Row houses.
Sweeping changes also are being considered to the basic layout of some sections of campus, in part to repair 20th-century deviations from the original Frederick Law Olmsted plan for the university while creating new transit corridors and pedestrian-bicycle malls.
However, the short-term bad news is that there will be several more years of construction activity, particularly in the Science and Engineering Quad, where construction of the Gates Information Sciences Building and the Center for Integrated Systems extension are nearing completion (both are scheduled to open around New Year's).
As it happens, three major-- and a myriad of minor-- programs are reaching their peak of intersection this quarter.
First, the seismic strengthening program that began before the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake continues. It is combined with the earthquake recovery program, much of which didn't begin until Stanford finished negotiating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency over the price tag and who would pay what share.
Second, there is new construction, the most significant being the Science and Engineering Quad, the new wing for the museum and two new housing projects.
Third, there is renewal. Projects include renovation of older academic buildings, such as the Stauffer labs and Varian; upgrades to athletic facilities, such as Angell Track and the Stanford Stadium; and Housing and Dining Services' 12-year capital improvement project, which is three years old and most recently resulted in the top-to-bottom renovation of Stern Hall, home to roughly 10 percent of the resident undergraduate population at any given time.
In addition to those programs there are the normal maintenance and infrastructure improvement projects, ranging from road resurfacing and restriping, primarily to expand the network of bicycle lanes, to sprucing up Frost Amphitheater and putting finishing touches on the New Guinea Sculpture Garden.
Visible part of iceberg
"By the year 2000, the campus will have a much different look and a much different feel," said Mark M. Jones, director of Facilities Project Management.
"We currently have $157 million worth of projects under construction or close to starting construction," Jones said. "That's a fraction of the total of about $550 million in projects that are in some phase of planning, programming or design.
"What you see when you walk around campus now is just the visible part of the iceberg."
Currently, the most visible projects are concentrated on the south end of the Main Quadrangle, and extend into the 500 series of engineering buildings; Green Library West; and the Gates/CIS/Science and Engineering Quad area. Over the summer, work was nearly completed on improvements to the mall running between the Ford Center and the Arrillaga Family Sports Center, the relocation of Angell Track, and a number of major utility, roadway and parking lot improvements handled by Facilities Operations.
Ground will be broken this winter for the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, the centerpiece of which will be a renovated Stanford University Museum of Art and a new 36,000-square-foot wing. Early next year work begins on the Schwab Residential Center, a joint executive education/graduate student housing project on the site of the last of the Manzanita "temporary" student trailers.
The start of work on a second housing project, to construct a residence for graduate students at Governor's Corner, is scheduled for spring 1996.
Deferring problems, not maintenance
President Gerhard Casper said he and the Board of Trustees are committed to leading Stanford into the 21st century with a physical plant that is vital, intact and safe - and able to support his academic initiatives and the future demands of scientists.
"We are trying to avoid the problem that has hit some other universities, where by not attending to renewal and renovation, they suddenly were faced with staggering bills when these matters could no longer be deferred," Casper said. "We now have a systematic plan, a capital plan, which tries to address those issues.
"Observing what has happened at other universities, I did not think we should ever find ourselves in that position," Casper said.
Much of the new construction, he noted, also could be classified under renewal.
"The Science and Engineering Quad, to a very large extent, represents the renewal of otherwise rapidly deteriorating facilities," Casper said. "Our engineering facilities were put up rather quickly in the 1950s, and it was clear they would not last into the next century. I was happy we were able to persuade William Hewlett and David Packard to see this as a major renewal project."
Casper said that it is not easy to achieve the kind of success in fundraising as that which occurred when the alumni and Silicon Valley pioneers in 1994 pledged a record $77.4 million to make the Science and Engineering Quad a reality.
"When you engage in fundraising these days, people do not always like to give for bricks and mortar," Casper said. "They would prefer to give to programs.
"Well, programs have to be housed, there's no way around that. So unless we tend now to the infrastructure of Stanford, we won't have Stanford in the future."
Linking past, future
Over the past few decades, there has been significant deviation from the Olmsted plan, as exemplified by Meyer Library, which sits astride the Escondido Mall axis that defines the rear of the Main Quad, and the drab 1950s science buildings that will be replaced by the new quad.
Under the direction of David J. Neuman, university architect and associate vice provost for planning, officials dusted off the Olmsted tenets for the new campus plan and used them as a guide for developing the Science and Engineering Quad.
One of the key elements of the plan for the new quad is its connection with the Main Quad, via the West Portal. Currently, someone standing in the Main Quad and looking west through the portal sees the cylindrical Bloch Lecture Hall.
When the work is done, there will be a pedestrian mall running from the West Portal to a new landscaped courtyard -- the Science and Engineering Quad first shown on campus plans in the mid-1880s.
Stanford's new transit plan begins with the circulation system developed for the campus by Olmsted. Several of Olmsted's original formal axes will be restored to safely accommodate transit vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.
The new corridors will be bike-transit malls, with pedestrians on wide sidewalks, and bikes, service vehicles and small buses in streets. Serra Mall, a prototype, will open in January between the Gates Information Sciences Building and the Center for Integrated Systems. Eventually, most of Serra Street on the main campus will be converted to such a mall.
Future transformations, which include putting transit vehicles back on streets that have been converted haphazardly to pedestrian-only zones, might include Galvez and Panama malls.
"We don't know exactly how we're going to get around White Plaza yet," said Jeffrey Tumlin, a program manager with the office of Transportation Programs. "But we do know that providing streets and sidewalks in the central campus will dramatically improve things for pedestrians terrified of errant cyclists."
Attention to detail
At fenced-off Geology Corner and Language Corner, seismic strengthening and work to repair quake damage is being conducted at the same time as interior and exterior refurbishing. Both projects are scheduled to be completed next summer, and for the first time since Oct. 17, 1989, most of the Main Quad will be open and fully functional.
All the seismic strengthening work being done at Stanford is intended to prevent structural collapse of buildings during an earthquake along the mid-peninsula section of the San Andreas Fault with a magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale.
At Language Corner, huge beams support the arches while, one by one, the sandstone columns supporting them are being taken out and replaced with identical twins made of reinforced concrete.
"When we're restoring, we try to preserve the original fabric or provide something as close as possible," Jones said. "As for the columns in the Quad, the originals are sandstone, and we're replacing them with concrete. But we're going to great lengths to make sure they look as much as possible like the originals. We've had to reject quite a number of them because they just weren't up to the specs."
For such a historic building, Jones said, the quality of building materials could not be negotiated.
"When we're finished and someone walks by and can't tell that the seismic strengthening has been done, then we've done our job well," Jones said.
Through funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, donors and university reserves, "we're on pace to meet our deadline, to have all of the unreinforced masonry buildings completed," Jones said. "It's part of the university's commitment to restoration."
Project manager Shirley Chen points out the protective measures that are being taken to preserve historic details.
"We're looking very closely at the color, the texture, the ribbing on the main section," Chen said. "We don't want any crooked seams. We want it to look just as if it were hand-carved sandstone."
During reconstruction of Language Corner, the tile floor is being protected by two heavy sheets of plywood. The sandstone mosaics on the corner are concealed behind a protective pillow of sand, held in place by wood supports.
From the interior, radiators, wainscoting, wrought iron staircase railings and even the plaster walls are being restored and replaced whenever possible. Roof tiles are taken down and inventoried, one by one, so that the roof will look identical when completed, even though many of the old tiles are broken and will have to be replaced.
In contrast to the care that is being taken to preserve the look and feel of the Language Corner arcades, the seismic strengthening that was done at History Corner before the 1989 earthquake was a little less sensitive. To beef up the arches, concrete was used to fill in the gaps between the columns, changing forever the effect. That would be unthinkable today.
"There's a heightened sense now that as far as the old main campus is concerned, we do have historical obligations," Casper said. "We are now less willing to make adjustments to historical buildings to meet perceived needs."
Neuman and his staff have developed preservation guidelines for the repair of all historical Stanford facilities. These are important, he said, in maintaining Stanford's sense of history in its structures.
Another major change in recent years is that Stanford now holds architectural competitions for new projects.
"We are in the very fortunate position of having architects inquiring if they can participate in one of our competitions," Casper said. Recent winners of competitions include such world-famous firms as Pei Cobb Freed (for the Science and Engineering Quad), Legorreta Arquitectos (Schwab Residential Center) and Polshek and Partners (museum). Neuman said these firms work in close collaboration with his office and the project teams to design buildings that fit well in the Stanford campus.
Regulatory compliance a 'moving target'
In addition, said Chris Christofferson, director of Facilities Operations, "there is the university's commitment to compliance [with government regulations] and safety in the workplace." At Building 570, for example, an $8 million project is under way to upgrade the building and comply with Santa Clara County's new toxic gas ordinance. Similar work is planned for Mudd Chemistry and other locations where researchers use toxic and/or flammable gases and other regulated substances.
"Many of our facilities are obsolete when it comes to conforming with various codes and standards, which affect life safety, the Americans with Disabilities Act, toxic gases, etc.," Jones said. "The various codes are constantly changing, and we're chasing the compliance - it's a moving target. But we have a regulatory and ethical commitment to making our campus as safe and as inhabitable as possible," he said.
As part of a four-phase major renovation to Building 570, a mechanical engineering lab and office facility at the corner of Duena and Panama, Stanford is constructing a toxic gas storage facility ("the bunker") to comply with county ordinance. Although smaller than many of the other campus projects, it has attracted much attention over the summer, in part because of its smokestack and its visible location, near Tresidder Union and the Old Firetruck House.
According to Marsh Mendez, project manager, the building is designed to contain the release or explosion of toxic and/or flammable gases used in experiments by mechanical engineering faculty and others.
The structure includes sophisticated ventilation and exhaust systems, fire sprinklers and security systems.
Crews also are at work on a major renovation of Building 570, inside and out. The work is primarily seismic strengthening, upgrading fire safety systems and making programmatic improvements, including interior design and upgrading of electrical and telecommunications systems.
"Anyone who had been in Building 570 before won't recognize much of it when we're done," Mendez said. "We're working closely with the ME faculty to design the interior space in a way that makes it more functional for them."
Input from faculty, students, staff and other clients has been actively solicited in recent years. Many campus observers say that is a welcome change from the past, when often it seemed that departments and individuals were operating in independent vacuums.
Considering the scope of the projects now under way and in the planning stage, the university "has made a major commitment to cooperation," Jones said. "It's not only between Facilities Project Management, Facilities Operations and the Planning Office/University Architect, and a large number of other offices, but with everyone involved, including, of course, the faculty and staff and students."
During the entire process, the academic interests of the provost's office are represented by Jacqueline Wender, associate provost for facilities planning. She acts as mediator between researchers and teachers and planners and builders, juggling class schedules, department office locations and major research projects around a complex construction schedule.
The new attitude of cooperation, Jones said, is intended "to make sure everything is very well linked. Not just logistically, but also intellectually. I like to say that we're trying to choreograph the logistics."
Christofferson added: "It's more than not having my crews rip up a street, only to find that Mark's crews have to rip up the same street a few weeks later for a different reason. If you look at the Science and Engineering Quad project, there are all kinds of things that have to be coordinated.
"The noise, the work and its effects on the academic enterprises in the area, those are one set of problems," he said. "Then start thinking about everything else. Where do you put the trash? Where do the workers park? What kinds of detours are there going to be for pedestrians, for bicycles, for other traffic?"
From below the ground up
Starting this fall, the people behind the projects will meet regularly to coordinate efforts further.
At a typical meeting, utilities manager Bob Hockey may report on what happens under the ground, while the ground itself is the domain of Herb Fong (grounds manager) and Michael Kuntz (campus roads manager). What moves on the ground is handled by Julia Fremon, manager of Transportation Programs. Judy Chan, associate director of the Planning Office, reports on items in planning, and Jones and Christofferson handle the overall management of new projects and maintenance projects, respectively. Neuman and Christofferson co-chair the group.
Large maps of the campus line the walls in the conference room at 855 Serra Street. Each department has marked, in different colors, where it plans to work. The Public Works Team has designated seven different "zones" on campus and has asked that, whenever possible, work done by various departments be concentrated in one zone at a time.
"The idea is to coordinate and collaborate," Neuman said. "If we can move the timing of certain projects to meet those that are already being implemented, we may be able to save money and time and produce a better result."
If anyone wants to complain to President Casper about all the work that is going on, he or she is free to do so. But starting in summer '96, Casper won't be found in Building 10.
That building is among the last Inner Quad buildings to be strengthened and renovated, and for about a year the president personally will experience what it is like to work in a temporary office.
This is an archived release.
This release is not available in any other form.
Images mentioned in this release are not available online.