Rain delays work
by Rebecca Arrington
you hear me now?
Shawn Mitchell (standing) and Dale Conley, of the Facilities
Management fire protection and sound unit, set up the public
address system on the Lawn last Friday for Reunions Weekend.
It was one of the few sunny days the area has had in the past
month-and-a-half. Water had to be pumped out of Madison Bowl
earlier in the week before the Reunions tent could be set
up for returning alums. Preparations for the weekend arent
the only jobs that have been hampered by rain. Construction
projects and routine maintenance schedules, such as mowing,
have been affected by the deluge.
By Matt Kelly
the recent heavy rainfall might be good for flowers and reservoirs,
it has slowed a lot of work on Grounds.
rainfall was 8.75 inches, nearly double the normal amount for
the month. For the first five months of 2003, rainfall has been
144 percent of normal, according to Jerry Stenger, research coordinator
at the State Climatology
Office at U.Va. Last year, rainfall in the first five months
was 60 percent of normal.
the University, this has meant delays in construction and ground
Unless the structure is up and the roof is on, it is affected,
said Elizabeth Jo Lawson, capital planner with Facilities
Management. This is true throughout the region. The
ground is too saturated [to lay] foundations, deliveries are difficult,
and we have to wash mud off the vehicles leaving a site.
rain has hampered construction of the new Observatory Hill dining
hall, which requires a temporary road and where excavation has
just started for the foundations. The rain, paired with a harsher
than normal winter, has caused delays in setting the foundations
at the Ivy Road parking garage. While the completion date has
been extended 15 days to Oct. 15, Lawson said it should go up
quickly now that foundations have been completed.
foundation had already been completed on the expansion of the
Aquatics and Fitness Center, so that facility is on schedule,
she said. And the excavation has just started for the John Paul
Jones Arena on Massie Road.
of the brick walkways outside Thornton Hall have been postponed
due to rain.
Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature
and Culture and the Albert
and Shirley Small Special Collections Library being built
next to Alderman Library has had its deadline extended by about
six days, according to Donald C. Riggin, who is overseeing the
construction for the University. The latest bouts of rain
have pushed us into March 2004, he said.
have done what they could, Riggin said, but the rain has made
it hard to pour concrete and work on the roof. The project moved
ahead of schedule in the dry summer and fall last year, so the
current delays have been minor.
is not the only problem. The rain has also taken its toll on the
sure slowed us down, said Scott Burns, landscape supervisor
for Central Grounds.
conditions have made mowing difficult, and Burns crew has
been working to revive the Lawn following graduation. The exercises
were held in a downpour, and the crowds trampled the grass into
the mud, Burns said. His crew used three backpack blowers, set
on their highest settings, to shake the grass loose of the mud
and stand it back up again. Despite the mess, Burns said he was
pleased the graduates walked the Lawn.
the ground dries sufficiently, the Lawn will be aerated and overseeded.
The wet weather has brought out an onslaught of aphids, Burns
said. We lost the first leaf bloom on the maple trees.
The second one looks OK, but this shows how wet conditions can
let something thrive.
moisture has also caused some leaf fungi to flourish.
rain has had no apparent impact on the recent plantings, Burns
said, though root rot could become a problem if the soil remains
saturated. He is most concerned about 150 two-foot-tall Japanese
hollies planted on the Lawn side of the Rotunda.
trees are loving it, said arborist Jerry Brown. I
havent lost any of them.
Burns said landscape workers learn to adjust to conditions. Last
year, he said, they were capturing water from chiller facilities
to water plants.