Higgins Construction Continues on South Campus

by BRIAN ASARE & AUGUST KISSEL, Photography Editor & Senior Writer

After a year and a half of construction, the master plan for South Campus has begun to take shape. For students returning to campus, the progress made from when they were gone for the summer is noticeable and for the college as a whole, the transformation is an exciting process.

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Higgins Construction Approaching Completion BRIAN ASARE / THE QUADRANGLE

“When we left last year, we were still doing steals, and concrete down there. I mean, at this point in time on that building, we’ve got the whole superstructure off. We’re putting the facade on the building that’s about 50 percent done. Then inside the building, all the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, sprinkler trades, is all in progress. They’re all at least 50, 55 percent complete. A lot has happened on the inside and we’re just going right along with the progress,” said Vice President of Facilities Andrew J. Ryan.

For students who were on campus this summer this meant seeing the development of the facade of the Higgins Building each day on their way to work. This facade is constructed from a terracotta that has been carved in various ways that alter the color of each tile. Other progress includes the addition of windows, exterior walls, as well as the internal structures and systems that help to run the building in the day by day, such as plumbing and air conditioning.

During the summer some Manhattan College students had the opportunity to work on pieces of the Higgins Building through their summer internships. These experiences include working with the mechanical systems such as Acoustics with Longman Lindsey Acoustical Consulting and the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning with Jaros Baum & Bolles.

“In terms of working on noise, we will deal with mechanical noises like a generator or a fan that was too loud and needed to be isolated and so we would take measurements using a sound level meter and that would tell us at which frequencies the noise was occurring at and with that we could isolate the frequencies and block off the frequencies,” said senior mechanical engineering major Piotr Zarzecki, who interned at Longman Lindsey.  “We did some offices on South Campus, and we came earlier in the summer and we tested the offices and it was a little bit on the louder side and then once we came back later in the summer we tested it again and it sounded significantly better.”

The progress on South Campus has been visible both internally and externally and has followed the proposed project timeline. The facilities are expected to be finished by the Spring of 2020 and open for use in Fall 2020.

“The building has come along really well. Now when you look inside, you can see the systems are all connected and pretty much in place now. So, you know, the next thing we got is to put the glass up on the outside. We are going to have to go inside and put the walls up on. They got the studs in, they have to go in and hang the walls in there and get that ready,” said Tim J. Ward, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Engineering.

The Higgins Building along with the interior renovations to Leo spaces such as the cafeteria have become a source of excitement for the engineering and communications students on campus. Leo holds the main classrooms and study spaces for the four largest departments at the college: civil engineering, mechanical engineering, biology and communication. The renovations also include modernizing the labs for study and teaching purposes as well as creating student study and meeting spaces.

“We were in a big need of a big renovation for our labs and we are going to be up on the fourth floor so it’s going to be a lot more open, kind of like an open floor plan and we worked a lot with the architects to modernize them [labs] and get what we need to maintain our high level of  teaching and research,” said Jessica Wilson, Ph.D., of the civil and environmental engineering department.

“I am looking forward to the new stuff because Leo is pretty old, and a lot of the rooms are either like zero degrees or 100 degrees so it will be interesting to see how nice it is going to be,” said sophomore mechanical engineering major Mathew Vabridy

Despite the noise from construction and the waiting, students and staff who frequent South Campus are excited to be able to use and see the new facilities.

“I’m just excited to see students’ reactions when it all comes together because I have walked through the Higgins testing site and I have walked through the Leo reconstruction site and it is looking really nice,” said Zarzecki.