UTC Library Construction: Why the Delay?

By Chris Worthington

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/TheLoop) — Although construction workers found the ground under the new library stable, there were a few spots that were not according to Theresa Liedtka, Dean of Lupton Library, said.

Despite speculation that the new library is having problems because it is being built on a cave, it is not true. “That explains the crack in the current library. It’s not that it’s sinking, it’s just the earth’s geography below us,” Liedtka, said workers continue to drill through rough spots. “The sinking library is an urban myth,” Colleen Harris, assistant professor and librarian, said.

Last semester, the school began building the library in hope to have it completed by early 2012. Since late last semester though, no work has been done. “Yes, it has painfully come to a stop,” Liedtka, said. The past four months, the Chattanooga Fire Marshal has been going over the plans and reviewing the safety of the building.

This is not the first time they halted the production of the library. Liedtka said that when there were issues with the state budget, the construction plan was ruled out to pay off some of the state debts.

Liedtka said that there are currently five construction firms that will get the bid to finish building.

“ As the foundation went up, the final drawings were being compiled and then they went to the fire marshal, who had the drawings for four to five months,” she said.  “It’s a fairly complex building that students can come in, swipe their card to get in study rooms and get out of the lock and key business.” Now that the plans are back, construction can continue.

Also Liedtka said the architect did mention that the building was one story below skyscraper status for Chattanooga code. This would have added more complex requirements regarding safety protocols.

“ Our only fear was that prices are starting to creep up for materials, so the faster we move the better deal we will get, so there will be extra money,” Dean Liedtka said. “The good news is that it is not a problem with the money. It’s there. It’s just taking forever.”

“The school was given  $48-million for construction, but that does not include actually moving the books and computers from the old building,” she said. “ So the school has to come up with a separate fund to get them moved in order.”

Students will now have to wait until spring 2013 to begin their study time in the new library.


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