Northrop Plaza renovation receives additional funding

by Nathan Whalen

Thirty years of harsh weather have exacted $4.4 million in damage to the Northrop Memorial Auditorium plaza.
Renovating the plaza was originally part of a five-year, $46 million maintenance project for buildings around the University until workers discovered the extent of the damage.
So regents approved spending additional money Thursday, making the Northrop Plaza renovation a separate project.
“The structure was built 70 years ago, and we need to beef it up a little bit,” said Eric Kruse, Facilities Management vice president.
Cracks in the plaza’s face have been a source of water leaks in surrounding buildings, such as Northrop Auditorium and Morrill Hall.
A waterproofing sealant applied when the 1928 building was remodeled in 1966 failed, making the current repairs necessary. Officials said the new sealant should last for more than 50 years.
In addition to the large granite platform and the auditorium’s stone stairways, landscape planters will also be repaired.
Earlier this fall, construction workers removed the granite tiles from the plaza. They will be replaced with a different type of granite.
The project will be finished by October 2000, but work on the plaza has been halted through winter.
When architects laid out plans for the remodeled plaza, they referred to the University’s Master Plan, guidelines for the physical appearance of on-campus structures.
The plan states that the polished granite on the plaza should look more natural, so workers will use sandblasters to give it a more matted appearance.
Another aspect of the project will include making the plaza compliant with requirements for handicapped people by installing new handrails to the project.
Parking and Transportation Services will pay for $1 million of the Northrop renovation because part of the renovation includes the roof of the Church Street parking ramp.

Nathan Whalen covers facilities and construction. He welcomes comments at [email protected]