Renovations to Surge: What you need to know

Chloe Flores/HIGHLANDER

Ongoing renovations since Dec. 27 to the Surge building have continued into the new year, as campus architectural planners and officials seek to upgrade the building’s exterior and enhance insulation materials for safety and maintenance reasons. Construction teams, headed by project manager Fernando Nunez of UCR Architects and Engineers, seek to replace old, delaminated exterior tiles with new, weather-resistant ones in order to extend the building’s lifespan and mitigate possible structural safety concerns.

The current exterior of the Surge building had been showing signs of wear due to weather and climate conditions, according to Nunez. This damage would represent a running risk in the future and could only be remedied by replacing the old exterior with more weather-resistant materials.

“The purpose of the renovation is to address the delamination of the existing exterior tiles and remedy any exposure the building may have to future weather conditions,” said Nunez in an email. The solution? “All the exterior tiles are being removed with the installation of a stucco finish to replace the tile exterior.”

It is hoped that this new exterior will increase safety by enhancing the building’s condition.

Jimmy Lai/HIGHLANDER

Exposed to the extremes of Riverside weather, the old tiles’ delamination posed a threat to the building’s integrity. The construction will, hopefully, “eliminate any safety concerns to our students, staff and faculty.”

The large amounts of foot traffic and the location of functioning university offices and classrooms in and around Surge have presented challenges to the construction team. Extensive scaffolding and barricading of the outside of the building have proved obstacles to the free movement of people between the HUB and North Campus Dr. The noises resulting from construction have also posed a potential disruption to the smooth operation of the surrounding campus areas; a notice on one of the Surge doors notes that construction is mainly scheduled between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., and occasionally on weekends and after-hours to mitigate noise disturbances.

According to Nunez, “As with many projects, scheduling work activities so that they are the least disruptive to the surrounding campus community can be challenging. While we try to mitigate issues, this project has provided restrictions on access to the building and exposure to construction noise that has had an impact to classes as well as building occupants.”

Progress on the site, however, is moving along steadily, with phase one (the removal of exterior tiles) expected to be completed by the end of the Martin Luther King Day weekend. Phase two, the installation of the new stucco exterior, is “scheduled to commence in the upcoming weeks,” according to Nunez.

When work has finished, university officials hope to have a long-term answer to the deteriorating toll Riverside’s desert climate can have on campus buildings. Construction is slated to finish by Feb. 23, 2018.

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