Deferred critical repairs on campus addressed during summer: $6 million spent on upgrades to facilities

Only the inside doors to the library were replaced, while the faulty exterior doors remain. (Donald Halsing / THE GATEPOST)

Students returned from summer break to several campus upgrades – some visible and some less noticeable.

Some of the buildings on campus needed more attention than others, but were not repaired until this past summer.

Dale Hamel, executive vice president, provided a “Critical Repairs Spending Plan.” The plan lays out fund allocation for various repairs and upgrades on campus.

The Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) is responsible for overseeing and funding management of public buildings, including those on FSU’s campus.

“We’ve been given a five-year allocation, which we’ve allocated to a number of different projects,” Hamel said.

Currently funded projects cost a total of just over $6 million for fiscal years 2019-2020. Hamel said 26% of the funds come from the school, while the remaining 74% is provided by DCAMM.

Hamel said an organization called “Sightlines” looked at all of FSU’s facilities and determined their net asset value (NAV). The NAV score represents what condition the buildings and facilities on campus are in.

“Framingham State had the highest – meaning good – NAV score of all the state universities,” said Hamel.

“But, when you look at that,” he added, “there’s some projects [buildings] that have very high NAV scores, and then some with low NAV scores.” Crocker Hall received the worst score, followed by Whittemore Library. 

Hamel added, “We’re essentially attempting to address the facility with the most identified needs as part of deferred maintenance.” 

Crocker Hall

Hamel said repairs to Crocker Hall were in “Phase I” of completion. “What we focused on in Phase I,” he said, “was renovation of the first floor.” This included the installation of an accessible restroom, and “making a space” for an additional restroom on the floor. 

The second restroom will not be installed until Phase II of the project, which focuses on the second floor and “restrooms throughout the building,” according to Hamel.

He added, “We have had it [Crocker Hall] on our capital spending plans for a number of years. Every year, it seems to have gotten deferred 

for another project.

“It’s been on the five-year plan for a number of years now,” Hamel said. “It finally made it to undertaking Phase I,”

Phase II is funded and will begin next year. Repairs to Crocker Hall totaled $1.7 million, of which $426,000 was contributed by FSU.

Whittemore Library doors

Hamel said repairs to the library doors – as with Crocker Hall – are “not completed yet.”

“We’re still waiting for the second set of doors to come,” Hamel said. 

“Those doors were failing… there would be times where at least one set of the doors would be stuck open,” Hamel added. “During the winter, that’s not a good thing,” 

Hamel added, “When those doors open, they both open and they kind of stay open for a while, whereas you see the standard operation of a regular door – it’s not open as long.”

The new doors were budgeted at $25,000. Since the project is incomplete, Hamel could not provide a total cost.

Additionally, $85,000 is being spent to repair railings and stair treads in Whittemore Library.

May Hall roof

In the weeks prior to the start of classes, the May Hall roof was repaired. Hamel said the work was focused on the “turrets” above the staircases.

“It was less of a safety concern than it was a water infiltration issue,” he clarified. “If you walk up the stairways, you’ll see why.” Water damage to walls is visible inside the staircases.

The total cost of repairs to May Hall was $291,000.

State Street crosswalk

The City of Framingham replaced the crosswalk surface in front of the McCarthy Center during the summer. The crosswalk was first installed approximately ten years ago.

“The first time around, we [FSU] actually paid for it as an incentive for the city to do it,” Hamel said. “They’ve come back now and replaced it themselves, which is very nice.”

According to Hamel, a second crosswalk on State Street will be replaced next summer.

Maple field

Also during the summer, Kuirk Construction resurfaced the Maple athletic field.

“That was a great project,” Hamel said. “I think it’s one of the few projects where we didn’t have change orders,” he added. 

A change order is any additional work needed, or work removed from a project, which changes the overall price.

Hamel added Kuirk Construction “did a great job.”

The project cost $1.1 million, of which $285,000 was contributed by FSU.

Other projects

Other projects underway on campus include a $1.1 million electrical upgrade of the power plant and campus wiring.

Hemenway Hall and Hemenway Annex were allocated $210,000 for floor repairs. Hamel said these were “not addressed” by a previous project.

The McCarthy Center “Chiller Mechanical Project” was completed for $594,000. 

The Dwight Hall roof replacement wrapped up at $672,000.

Some maintenance is ongoing, especially regarding security at FSU. This includes changing locks around campus. 

“We do some lock changes every summer,” Hamel said.

Additional ongoing upgrades include changing all the exterior lights on campus for brighter ones. 

A lack of adequate lighting on campus at night was identified as an issue last year by Student Government Association. In response, the lighting on the north end of Dwight Hall was improved.

Hamel said, “Anything that hasn’t been updated, we kind of do over time.”

He added, “It’s surprising how expensive it [ongoing maintenance] is.” 

Hamel revealed there is a study underway for an e-sports gaming venue that will be in Larned Hall. He added construction will not likely occur until winter break.

Hamel said he is “in the middle of submitting our request for next year for major projects” to DCAMM.