Campuswide window washing

Kane Loukas

Roofers and window washers began major maintenance work on University buildings on Monday, the first day of a five-year facility fix-up project.
The University budgeted $46 million for roof replacement, window replacement and masonry/window repair. An additional $350,000 is being spent on scrubbing off nearly eight years of window pane grime. Both projects are part of President Mark Yudof’s Beautiful U campaign, a series of capital improvement initiatives launched in October 1997.
When Yudof mobilized his capital spending campaign and requested more than $700,000 in state funding, wary legislators questioned and criticized University management for their inability to keep up with routine maintenance; they cited unwashed windows and deteriorating buildings specifically.
President Yudof, facility management officials and the Board of Regents put a top-priority stamp on University building upkeep.
“It was kind of a no-brainer,” Regent Patricia B. Spence said of the board’s May 8 approval of the roof and window work. “We found out that the windows weren’t cleaned. It just doesn’t reflect well on the management.”
Financing of the $46 million window and roof maintenance project will come from three sources:
[0149]$20 million comes from the revenue from the sale of University Hospital to Fairview health systems;
[0149]$15 million — $3 million per year over five years — comes from an annual University facility repair and replacement budget;
[0149]$11 million is expected, but not guaranteed, to be granted as part of the fiscal year 2000 funding request to the state Legislature.
This summer’s window washing costs will be covered with a one-time funding outlay of $350,000. Four local window companies were hired on contract to finish all cleaning by the start of fall quarter.
It wasn’t difficult to dig up money to pay for the various maintenance projects, said Michael Berthelsen, a spokesman for the Office of Budget and Finance. Officials also identified some reserves, he said, making it possible to complete the projects without going to the state for more than the $208.6 million granted to the University in early April.
Unlike some of the larger projects planned for the next few years — a $53.5 million renovation of Walter Library and a new $70 million Cellular and Molecular Biology building — students and staff aren’t likely to take notice of the benefits from the $46 million window and roof plan.
“Unless you have water leaking in on your head, you’re probably not going to notice the repairs we’re making,” said Tim Busse, communications specialist for Facilities Management. Replacing shingles, tarring roofs and reglazing, recaulking and resealing windows are a few of the items on the checklist. Busse called the items the “no photo-op and non-attention-getting stuff.”
Work began this week on the Field House roof and the windows on the Phillips-Wangensteen building and the Ted Mann Concert Hall.
Several inherent factors complicate the project, including the requirement of some high-cost, custom-made windows and the special care needed when working on the University’s older, more architecturally valuable buildings.
The toughest part, said Busse, is coordinating the job with all with the other renovations.
“Just the scale and the amount of work is going to be huge,” he said. In all, the University plans to spend $400 million on facility improvements and new construction in the next four to five years.