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Construction on new residence hall to be completed on April 30

BY ALYSSA GUZMAN | OCTOBER 01, 2014 5:00 AM

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In building a new residence hall on the West Side of campus, Miron Construction taking additional safety precautions.

Miron workers building the Petersen Residence Hall on Grand Avenue, which will be completed April 30, 2015, using safe and efficient machinery.

One of which is a machine called “the manipulator,” a machine with suction cups on the face. The suction cups are used to pick up windows, and put them into their proper place in the building.

In the past, four or five men and women would wrestle a 400-pound window into the wall, which presented risks such as the glass falling on passerby and workers straining themselves.

The manipulator avoids that while maximizing efficiency.

Site superintendent Norman Steinbach said this machinery has been around for a while, but it is nonetheless “the wave of the future.”

In addition to safe machinery, Miron has a 100 percent glove, hard-hat, and goggles policy for its workers, as well as a policy that says that people more than 6 feet tall has to have a guard rail near them if they are in danger of falling.

Though there have been no problems thus far, Miron has also taken extra precautions in having an emergency generator.

“If anything goes wrong with the power, there is an emergency generator that will kick in in about 15 seconds,” Steinbach said.

The generator can run as long as there is an ample supply of natural gas.

Miron has been involved in this project since April 19, 2013.

“The university releases the project in phases,” Steinbach said.

By the time Miron was ready to begin constructing, the initial earthwork had been completed.

On April 21, 2013, cement was poured.

Thus far, the drywall has been done up to the sixth level.

Currently, Miron is on schedule, despite a few setbacks it experienced because of the harsh winter last year.

“Last winter made the process far more difficult because of the temperatures,” Steinbach said.

There were around 45 below-zero days last year, and Miron worked approximately 40 of them.

“It slowed production down dramatically,” Steinbach said.

Because of the temperatures, more breaks have to be allowed for physical issues, not just discomfort.

Steinbach said the low temperatures and wind chill become a danger to the construction workers, and if precautions are not taken, workers could begin losing hands and fingers to frostbite.

Though the winter did provide challenges, the workers worked harder and faster to make up for it in the spring, even on Saturdays.

“Regardless of what this winder does, we’ll deliver this building on the 30th of April as promised,” Steinbach said.

Petersen, which will feature 10 floors of living space, one roof level, one penthouse level, and a glass dining area for students, is just one of the new buildings being added to the West Side.

“The Pharmacy College is looking to expand,” said Rory Wiebel, the construction manager for the UI. “They’re trying to expand the residence halls.”

With an expected increase of enrollment in the coming years, Brent Anderson, the occupational safety manager, said there is a need for more on campus living.

“This year is the largest class the university has seen,” he said.


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