Construction on Westerlin’s W-Wing

Despite rumors that the new structure on top of Westerlin’s W-wing is a “new CA lounge,” the construction being done on top of the W-wing roof will serve a more functional purpose.
According to Joseph Scifo, director of facilities, the structure is actually a storage room being built to house machinery that will supply heating and air conditioning to W-wing.
“This year, what we tried to do was take advantage of the fact that the weather was good coming into the fall for scheduling and to start a little bit earlier on the phase for W-wing,” Scifo said.
W-wing is the last phase in a three-year construction plan to remodel Westerlin. The full construction process includes demolition and cannot be done while students are still living in Westerlin.
After the heating and cooling unit is completed in March, facilities will resume their construction at the end of May and hope to finish by August 1, before first-year students arrive to move in next year. The updated mechanical system will be functioning for the class of 2017.
For now, however, area coordinator Michelle Mason says that the building of the structure on W-wing’s roof should have no effect on students.
“Everything is going to stay the same as it is for right now, but it will be in place in the summer when they actually add in the units to be hooked up,” Mason said.
Both I-wing and J-wing have these structures built on their roofs, which provide heating and cooling to their respective wings. W-wing still runs on the old boiler system that is found in the basement underneath the Westerlin fitness center, which is why there is no air conditioning for W-wing. The structures allow I-wing and J-wing to have independent heating and cooling, which is essential because it eliminates the dependency of one centralized temperature system. In the past, if the boiler system failed, all of Westerlin would lack heat for an indefinite period of time.
“Three years before we started this phase, we had an issue with the boilers, and it impacted all of the wings. We were pretty much without heat for two days. We had one point of failure, and that took down everything. Now we’re trying to minimize it so that if we have failure in one particular area, it’s not impacting everything,” Scifo said.
As plans for the renovation of Westerlin will reach completion at the end of the summer, questions about the next renovated residential hall are asked again, particularly in the case of the older hall, Andreen.
“There’s conversation about Andreen– not anything finalized at this point– because not only are we talking about residential halls but now that the theater has moved out of Bergendoff, do we want to focus on Bergendoff now? Because we have limited funds, there might be a break for one or two years where we take some of the money and invest it into the academic aspects of campus and then come back to residential life,” Scifo said.
Right now, facilities and administration are considering factors like age and the smaller room size compared to other residential halls, as well as the possibility of increasing Andreen room size. However, changing room size might also decrease the bed count, which is a concern that is still being discussed.
“We all identify that Andreen, Seminary, and Erickson need to be remodeled, and it’s all just a question of how we phase it. These buildings do take some wear and tear in a short period of time, so it’s very difficult sometimes to keep up with the required maintenance,” Scifo said.