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“Moderate Rain” Delays Auditorium Construction

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After rain infiltrated underground ducts for the Campus Center auditorium in October, construction has been delayed at least a year, according to a University at Albany official.

The contractor was originally supposed to complete the auditorium in September, but since rain and debris entered the ducts in October, the completion date remains uncertain. However, the university is “hopeful” to have the auditorium ready for students’ return this fall, John Giarrusso, the associate vice president of finance and administration, said.

As part of the construction, the auditorium needed new ducts to keep the project’s quality, according to Brad Bunzey, engineer and project manager.

Since the damage was caused by a “heavy rain event that the contractor did not prepare for,” the ducts are currently being replaced at no cost to the university with the contractor’s insurance covering the costs of the damage, Giarrusso said.

When the company completes the auditorium, the university will still have to install audio and video.

According to previous plans that the project would have been completed by September 2016, the AV installation was slated for completion this past January, according to Bunzey.

He indicated that the rain event occurred at the end of October was “inches in a short duration of time.”

However, precipitation data from the end of October do not show intense rain.

Professor Ross Lazear from the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences stated that during the time, the precipitation was “not especially heavy in a short period of time.”

Data from Oct. 20 on Weather Underground show that there was a total of 0.51 inches of rain and the most per hour was 0.19 inches.

On Oct. 22, there was a total of 1.21 inches and the most that fell per hour was 0.12 inches.

Lazear described this as a “steady, moderate rain all day.”

There were 1.7 inches of snow on Oct. 27. The rain equivalent of this is 0.79 inches, according to Lazear and the National Centers for Environmental Information.

On the rain event and damage, Giarrusso said, “It could have happened to anybody.”

Bunzey said the entire Campus Center construction project cost $42.94 million, including the east addition, the renovation, and the west addition.

In contrast, Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady was a $330 million project that opened this February. The casino opened 13 months after its license was approved, according to a press release.

Construction on the auditorium started in September 2014 and stopped that winter due to challenging conditions, according to Bunzey.

He also said that construction was taking longer because the university is occupied.

Since people can hear construction on campus, a lot of the jackhammering happened from midnight into the early hours of the morning to not disrupt activities during the day.

Some students noted that the completion dates are uncertain.

Referring to when a completion date is put out, freshman Vanessa Lopez said, “I don’t really believe it.”

Similarly, junior Diamond Cohen said, “It’s still not done. Why is it taking so long?”

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Elise Coombs, a Syracuse native, is the editor-in-chief of the Albany Student Press. She is the co-Vice President of the UAlbany Mock Trial team, a member of Presidential Honors Society, and a peer mentor for the pre-law section of Writing and Critical Inquiry. After her time at UAlbany, she plans to go to law school and become a First Amendment lawyer.

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