Plans in motion aim to stop flooding in Central Mall

Plans in motion aim to stop flooding in Central Mall
Progress as of Jan. 24, 2020 / Photo courtesy of Andrew Doran

By Jazzminn Morecraft

Central Mall, the center of campus, might look different to students as they journey back to CI for the spring semester as the once-clear view from Aliso Hall to the John Spoor Broome Library is now obstructed by fences and equipment.

Phase one of the Central Mall renovation began Monday, Dec. 9 when the contractor started to install the fencing. In a facilities service project notification received via global email, it states, “This fencing is necessary for everyone’s safety and to provide the construction crew with an area to work and store equipment and materials.”

While this first phase looks as though it impacts much of Central Mall, it really only impacts the entrance to University Hall. Along with the signage around the construction zone to direct individuals, a university map has also been provided to show the location of construction and the temporary entrance to University Hall.

So, what is exactly happening to Central Mall? In the same global email, it was explained that the ground would be “renovated with new permeable pavers to replace the decomposed granite surface”.

Now, one might ask, what is a permeable paver? “A permeable paver allows storm water (rain) to infiltrate through it and go back to the ground,” explained Thomas Hunt, Interim Assistant Vice President for Facilities Services.

“Regular pavers are similar to concrete or asphalt because when it rains, they just generate a lot of water run-off. That water then accumulates and can cause flooding if our storm water systems are not able to keep up with the flow.” This means that the renovation should help with all the puddles of water around Central Mall when it does rain.

Once phase one is complete, the contractor will move onto phase two, in which they will be doing the same process, only this time in front of the front entrance to Bell Tower. However, Central Mall should never be completely blocked off from one end to the other.

Phase two is scheduled to be completed before commencement, which is on May 23 this year. “We have given the contractor a required completion date that gives us enough time to then do set up and preparation for commencement,” stated Hunt. “The contractor is aware of commencement and is fully onboard with completing the project on time for us.”

Even though phase two will be complete, the entire look of Central Mall will not be finished, Hunt informs. “The sides are being planned for future phases of renovation so that eventually the entire Central Mall will have the same design and look.”

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