Construction in Marist Hall Continues by Duane Paul Murphy

The Catholic University of America is conducting structural repairs on one of the university’s major historic buildings, Marist Hall. Since October 3, 2016, a majority of the classes regularly scheduled in Marist Hall have been relocated to various other locations across the campus due to visible cracking in the building’s west wing section. The cracking was attributed to the likely deterioration of the foundational walls as well as the load bearing walls and soil under the building’s foundation. According to the university’s Office of Facilities Planning and Management, the 2011 earthquake or subsurface drainage issues possibly caused the conditions.

“Exploratory structural tests are currently being conducted within Marist Hall to determine the cause of cracks that have appeared throughout the west wing of that building, and to better understand the implications of problems with building systems such as ventilation and sub-grade drainage,” said Elise Italiano, the Executive Director of University Communications for the university’s Office of Marketing and Communications.

Structural engineers hired by the university are monitoring the situation. Faculty and staff occupants of the building’s west wing have been relocated to various building across the university’s campus due to infrastructure testing and development. However, faculty and staff occupants of the building’s east wing will remain in their current location because there are no known visible or structural signs of damages in that part of the building.

The engineers affiliated with the Office of Facilities Planning and Management are conducting tests and assessments towards the damages. The tests involve partial demolition in order to allow the problems to be seen with the naked eye. The tests are being conducted on all the walls in the west wing of the building.

“Results of the testing and assessment by engineers will be completed by the end of February. Based on that information, we will determine the plan moving forward and the building’s future, balancing functional and financial realities with the university’s long-term vision for the campus as a whole. Additional information will be provided in March to the BoT Finance Committee and to the Executive Committee,” Italiano said.

Students on campus have expressed positive sentiments regarding the infrastructure development in Marist Hall.

“I’m excited at the thought of the new repairs to Marist hall and other infrastructure on campus,” said sophomore politics major Katie Trolio. “I think there is a lot of work to be done and although it’s inconvenient, it is necessary to keep our campus functioning properly and looking beautiful.”

Others on campus expressed difficulties with the building’s recent closures.

“The Marist Hall closures prove a rather large inconvenience for the student body. As a student whose department got moved right before finals week it was rather difficult to go to office hours,” said sophomore politics major Katie Hodgdon. “That being said, I understand why there were closed, as the building is in major need of TLC. I just hope that it is fixed in a fast and timely manner and that is comes back with all the fixes that it needs.”

Currently, there is no projected date of when construction will end.

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