UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Stairway to Nowhere

Stairway to Nowhere

Despite what some people may say, The Mass Media is very interested to hear what our fellow students have to say about our campus. If you question it, we will do our best to answer it.

A number of students have expressed concern for the state of the stairs outside of the Healey Library. Returning students are likely to remember the entrance from the courtyard no longer in use from last semester.

The stairs were closed on June 5, more than four months ago. Why then, might you ask, have they yet to be reopened? Dorothy Renaghan, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Facilities Management, explained that the construction company working with our campus, Simpson Gumpertz and Heger, has been busy working on a number of other projects.

The south side of Wheatley is still receiving a lot of attention. SGH has been redesigning the outside area where a slew of metal fences have been present for quite some time. The plans for the substructure are being revamped and updated, and SGH is also working on permanent replacements for the acid neutralizer tanks.

The roof over the pool in the Clark Administration Building had to be replaced before Camp Shriver began over the summer. Though the school is addressing the lack of construction as an inconvenience, Renaghan noted that “there is an alternative entrance, [and] there is not the same sense of urgency.”

The process finally has gotten underway, however, and SGH workers have been on campus over the past few weeks examining the taped-off area. A forensic analysis of the stairs is the first step that must be taken prior to any construction.

After work crews procure their preliminary analysis, they must assess what the problem is, look at original plans from how the stairs were initially constructed, study the renovated plans, and then come up with possible solutions.

The analysis, unfortunately, is generally not the quickest process. It could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to establish exactly what is wrong, and what should be done about it.

Though construction may have began more rapidly had UMass Boston gone with a different construction agency, the idea does not make much sense for only one project. SGH has already worked on the campus for a number of different jobs, and they are familiar with the school’s structure and layout.

Despite the fact that they are not always readily visible, SGH has still been working on a number of projects throughout the campus. While the construction company takes time to devise their plans, many students are led to believe certain issues, such as the Healey stairs, have been forgotten. This, however, is not the case.

Though many do not realize it, “design can be a much bigger process than construction,” Renaghan said. Students may think than UMass Boston is ignoring the “fire hazard,” as one student suggested, or that they simply forgot about it. But Renaghan reassured that “we are anxious to get it done [too, but] we want to do it safely.”