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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University July 11, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 39
Two-Year South Quadrangle Construction Project Begins

By Dennis O'Shea

Update: The university has announced that the "south quadrangle," as the planned quad adjacent to Garland Hall has been informally known during the design process, has now been officially named the Alonzo G. and Virginia G. Decker Quadrangle. The board of trustees took this action in recognition of the Deckers' decades of support of Johns Hopkins and service on the university's behalf. Alonzo G. Decker Jr., longtime chairman of Black and Decker Corp., was for more than 30 years before his death in 2002 a trustee of the university and member of the Presidential Counselors. He chaired the university's groundbreaking Hopkins Hundreds Campaign in the 1970s. He and his wife, Virginia, were themselves generous donors to initiatives throughout the university. Their decision to give Johns Hopkins their home and property on Maryland's Eastern Shore makes possible the construction of the Decker Quadrangle.

In this architectural model, the future visitors center is in the foreground and the computational sciences building at right. Garland Hall is at the top of the photo.

Before too long, Homewood's Garland Field will be a really, really big hole in the ground.

And we're all going to have to find a way around it.

This week, construction trailers and erosion control fencing will start to appear south of Garland Hall. That's the site of a new quadrangle that will include an admissions office and visitors center, a computational sciences building and a 604-space underground garage.

Next, the brick wall between Clark and Hodson halls will come down, making way for a new road south of Garland Hall. That road will assure the fire department emergency access to buildings like Levering and Latrobe once the road west of Shriver is dug up.

Then, right after Labor Day weekend, the current Garland Field parking lot will close. Construction will start in earnest. Starting next to Barton Hall, where the computational sciences building will stand, and working their way south and west, crews will spend the next four months digging and carting out 70 to 80 dump truckloads of dirt and debris each day — a total of 90,000 cubic yards of earth. Excavators will need to fill about 8,000 trucks in all to finish the job.

The 30-foot-deep hole they leave behind will be surrounded by a construction fence enclosing about 10 acres, a site stretching from Barton and Garland all the way down to Wyman Park Drive.

That will make for some long detours for staff heading from Garland to the Wyman Park Building for meetings, or students on their way from Clark to the Mattin Center for a rehearsal. It will mean additional orienteering challenges for prospective students or concertgoers parked in the visitors lot, which is being relocated temporarily to the Stony Run Lot (once known as R Lot) at the corner of San Martin and Wyman Park drives. And it will mean new challenges for disabled pedestrians negotiating new accessible routes.

The university's Office of Facilities and builder Whiting-Turner Contracting will make every effort to minimize the disruption, said Travers Nelson, the university's project manager for what is called, for now anyway, the South Quadrangle project.

Signs will be installed to point out the best available paths to specific destinations, including the handicapped-accessible routes, Nelson said. The university will give particular attention to street signs guiding drivers to the temporary Stony Run visitors lot and to walkway signs directing visitors from the lot to campus buildings.

The university will be asking the city for new crosswalks, warning signs and rumble strips on Wyman Park Drive to protect pedestrians, who will be crossing the street at new places and in greater numbers. Meters will be removed and parking prohibited on the Garland side of Wyman Park Drive, both to keep the street clearer for pedestrians and, near the construction entrance, to provide a staging area for dump trucks.

"Pilings for foundation work will be drilled, not driven, to reduce noise and vibration," Nelson said. "There inevitably will be noise from the site, however." After excavation is complete and the garage and buildings start taking shape, for instance, workers will be "dropping" formwork for concrete, a sound that will seem all too familiar to those in the area who remember the construction of Clark Hall.

The South Quadrangle project is scheduled for completion in summer 2007. The three-level underground garage, which will include 150 spaces for visitor parking, will be topped by a grassy quad, flanked on the south by the three-story, 28,000-square-foot admissions and visitors center. The computational science building, a Whiting School of Engineering building that will house an interdisciplinary blend of faculty focused on the use of computing in research, will flank the eastern edge of the quad. It will stand three stories high and contain 79,000 square feet. Clark Hall, already the home for biomedical engineering at Homewood, will stand along the western edge. Two sites on the quad will remain open for future development.

The project's architects are with the Boston firm of Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott, assisted by Baltimore engineers James Posey Associates, RKK Engineers and Morabito Consultants.

Anyone with questions about South Quad project construction can contact Nelson at 410-516-7862 or Construction updates will be posted on the Facilities Office Web site at: Click on "projects."


Parking Changes

Because of both short- and long-term parking changes necessitated by the South Quandrangle construction, the university recently announced a new, price-tiered parking system that will go into effect Sept. 6.

Details, including parking options, are available online in a story appearing in the June 27 Gazette and on the Parking Office's Homewood parking Web site:


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