J.P. Goodwin

There’s been ample auditory evidence over the past two weeks that construction on the new Campus center is proceeding on schedule. Just walk through the plaza between McCormack and Wheatley and you can hear the pounding of the mammoth pile driver at the construction site on what was the North Parking Lot.

According to Steve Waryasz, a superintendent with Suffolk Construction, the pile driver stands 120 feet high and is classified as a 150 ton crane – meaning it’s capable of lifting 150 tons at a time. The crane is capable of driving steel piles 73 feet into the ground, “in about 5 or ten minutes, depending on the condition of the ground,” explained Waryasz. “Things have been going pretty good, there’s been no problems with the ground,” he added.

The job of pile driving requires two cranes. The second crane (a 125-ton crane) feeds the piles to the pile driver. It takes a crew of 11 men to do the job; two crane operators, an oiler and a crew to hook up the piles to the cranes. It took five low bed trucks to bring the cranes to UMass Boston from Suffolk headquarters in Salisbury, Massachusetts.

The pile driving started on August 22 and is expected to last about two months, according to Stephan Chait, assistant vice chancellor for administration and finance. Chait reports that the noise and vibration impact on the UMB campus “should be minimal.” He stated that “When the pile driving started we [he was accompanied by Val Kirsis, director of facilities administration] went around to measure the impact, using scientific equipment, and found that you could hardly hear or feel it inside the buildings.”

The pile driving is being done from 6:30am to 3:30pm, Monday through Friday. “We never considered doing it during off hours because once you get outside regular hours, the cost really increases,” noted Chait.