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Improvement Of Steam Lines Set for Quad

Officials say the work will commence at the end of this school year and will be finished in time for the fall of 2002.

Often considered the heart of UNC's campus, Polk Place will be home to a large-scale renovation project beginning in the summer of 2002.

As part of an effort to upgrade steam lines on North Campus, crews will dig up a portion of the historic quad to replace the steam pipes that serve South Building, Steele Building, the Campus Y, Saunders Hall, Gerrard Hall, Bynum Hall and Playmakers Theatre.

Project Manager John Masson said the work will begin after graduation in the spring and will be completed before students return in the fall. He said the piping under the quad was last renovated more than 50 years ago.

The Polk Place work is part of Phase II of the Hot Water Heating Upgrade Project, which began in March 2001. Phase I, which is expected to be complete in August 2002, concentrates on replacing the steam pipes for 18 residence halls along Raleigh Road.

Edward Short, a buildings system engineer, said the crew was encountering some typical problems but that the end date for the project remains on schedule.

In addition to the renovation in Polk Place, Phase II includes work on buildings in McCorkle Place. Masson said a start date for that part of the project has not yet been set.

Phase III, which has no timeline as of now, will likely include renovations to buildings around Peabody Hall.

Karen Geer, who works with the capital improvements section of the facilities services department, said crews will be conscious of leaving famous parts of campus untouched. "We know this is a precious place," Geer said.

Students living in the residence halls said they are distressed by the current steamline construction."It's terrible," said Tess Hussey, a sophomore who lives in Ruffin Residence Hall. "They start before eight every morning, and it seems like it never ends."

And some students said they are not looking forward to seeing construction expanded to Polk Place.

Reading under the historic Davie Poplar, junior Kristen Young said she understands the importance of the construction but that she hopes work will be complete before fall of next year.

"Our campus is so pretty," Young said. "Seeing (all the work) around really distracts from it."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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