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The Antelope

Sewer line leaves campus in trenches


Construction on campus greens not convenient, but promises new fountain

By Katherine Coker 
Antelope Staff

UNK students were in for a surprise when they returned for classes this semester. The main entrance of the Calvin T. Ryan library was blocked by construction and will remain closed off until later this month.

This construction is the beginning phase of replacing aging sewer lines and storm drains that cross campus from the Nebraskan Student Union to U.S. Highway 30. The line serves many buildings and residence halls, but it has reached a point where replacement is considered a high-priority project.

“There are times when that line is running at 100 percent capacity. This line is pretty much at the end of its functional life,” said Lee McQueen, director of facilities management and planning at UNK.

The issues were discovered in 2015, but funding for the 3-million-dollar replacement project was not approved until August 2017, with the funds coming from utilities savings from the UNK conservation efforts.

The timing has many people irritated about the longer walks to classes and the detours they have to take.

“It’s been inconvenient for me. It blocks my main route to classes, so I have to go all the way around the construction area every day.” Said Veronica Villalobos, a senior from Madison, Nebraska.

However, the timing of the construction could not be avoided. After obtaining all the proper permits and approvals to get started as well as waiting for the best weather conditions, classes were due to begin.

The completion of the construction near the library is estimated for Sept. 10, and the reopening of the main library entrance is estimated to occur on Sept. 17. Landscaping work will continue in the area after the entrance has been reopened.

When construction completes around the library, crews will move further into campus to finish this large-scale repair and replacement project.

Since repairs are expected to go right under Cope Fountain–one of the most iconic points on campus–the fountain will be removed and replaced with a new design, one that has not yet been finalized.

McQueen is hopeful that the new fountain will become a year-round feature on campus.  It will be smaller and flush with the ground, allowing more traffic to pass around the area when the fountain is not running.

“The diameter of the original fountain was about 40 feet,” said McQueen. “The new pool will be about 24 feet.”

Increased lighting and new fixtures around the fountain will provide a new and inviting space for campus activities, with seasonal water flow.

The new fountain is expected to be up and running in time for spring commencement.

All donated benches, plaques, and bricks will be removed, saved and reused in a new design.

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