Hillman Library patio construction could end this summer

By Katie Campbell

By the end of this summer, the fences on the Hillman Library’s patio might finally come… By the end of this summer, the fences on the Hillman Library’s patio might finally come down.

Though workers blocked off the construction site this past fall, Pitt spokesman John Fedele anticipated that “repair work will start in late spring.”

Workers put fences around the patio so they could begin testing to find out where the leaks were located and to prevent people from tripping over construction materials, Pitt spokeswoman Patricia White said.

They will repair leaks in the “waterproofing membrane surface,” a rubbery layer of material under the stone patio, which is meant to keep water from seeping into the ground floor of Hillman Library. They hope to finish repairs by the end of the summer.

The waterproofing membrane surface is a rubberized material that comes in sheets and is bonded together, White said. “Lack of bonding may be causing the leaks.”

The damage is limited to ceiling tiles and paint on the ground floor of the library, she said.

Facilities Management is looking for a way to repair the damaged sheets instead of completely replacing them, she said.

It has taken a while to research and to develop a plan for the repair solution, but Fedele predicted “the project will be completed by the end of summer.”

The construction “will not involve substantial demolition, and repair noise will be limited,” Fedele said.

They will work during daylight hours.

“The biggest challenges are in keeping the disruption to library patrons from the noise at a minimum,” keeping entrances open while working and delivering supplies and minimizing “dust and debris that may affect the patrons,” he said.

For now, the construction site remains fenced off.

Sophomore Evan Mackrides said he doesn’t understand why the construction site is up when it seems no one is working on it.

“It makes no sense,” he said.

Because the fences leave little room around the entrance, many smokers stand closer to the high-traffic entranceway than they normally would if the patio were open.

“Everyone is forced to walk past the smokers to get into the library,” Mackrides said.

White said the University expects to work out the details “in the near future.”

“It is a complex issue, and the final solution still has not been finalized,” White said.