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Drafty doors chill South Hall occupants

November 9, 2006

South Hall was colder than usual last week when garbage bags were visibly placed around the building’s new exterior doors to block airflow through gaps surrounding the doorway.

Custodians used the bags in an effort to stop cold air from flowing into the building the morning of Nov. 1 because the trim around the inside of the door has not been completed by the commercial construction company that installed the doors only a few months ago.

Summit Architecture, Inc., located in Minneapolis, was contracted to replace the east, west and north entrances to South Hall this summer, Facilities Engineer Jim Murphy said.

“They have had more than a sufficient amount of time to finish their work,” he said. “The contractor was notified to finish the work this summer.”

Jason Domino, project manager for Summit Architecture, said he was notified Nov. 3 about the airflow through the trim.

“We don’t have a date for getting the trim done,” he said. “By Friday, we should have a guy out there to seal the doorways. It will be totally sealed.”

Once sealed, the airflow will be completely stopped, Domino said.

“I’m not up there everyday,” he said. “So I didn’t know it was such an issue or even occurring.”

Domino said the delay was due to an error that occurred with the trim.

Because South Hall is a historic state-owned building, the material for the trim had to be specially made from a company located in Pennsylvania, he said. The company had to make an aluminum material that can be curved to match the arch of the north entrance.

Once the frame is produced, it is then shipped to a company in northern Minnesota to make the curvature to the correct radius of the door, Domino said.

When the frame was curved, the color and material became distorted and the process had to begin all over again, he said.

“The process is extremely long,” Domino said.

Because the trim for the north entrance had to be sent back, the entire project is now delayed. Domino said he has to wait until another piece is made, leaving him unable to commit to a completion date for the job.

Summit Architecture was selected for the project through a competitive bidding process by the state, Murphy said.

“Their company submitted the lowest bid,” he said. “I’m unable to comment on their prior work record, as I am not familiar with other work they have done.”

The total cost for the South Hall doors is $130,000, Murphy said.

“The funds for the North Hall windows, KFA and South Hall doors were received from the State Building Commission,” he said. “They are not student fee generated.”

The construction company was also contracted to install the new entrance doors in the Kleinpell Fine Arts building last fall, which Murphy said has also not been finished.

Murphy said the state can issue a notice to a contracted company about finishing the job and charging for lack of time and work spent on the project, but no action has been taken on UWRF projects.

“There is a process that can be used to have another company finish the work, but [it] is not often used and is not an option that the University can apply,” Murphy said. “It has to be initiated by the Division of State Facilities.”