New construction on the Hill recreates historic appearance near Tech Tower
A crew member works on the renovation of the area around Tech Tower. Two alumni classes donated funds for the project.
As construction on campus becomes increasingly apparent, the area around the administration buildings, nicknamed “the Hill,” is no exception.
The construction is part of Tech’s Master Plan of 1997, which seeks to make the entire campus more pedestrian-friendly by closing certain streets to traffic and beautifying the surrounding areas.
The project will restore the Hill to a historical appearance; the classes of 1950 and 1975 provided the restoration’s funding.
This project is Phase I of the Master Plan; it includes the areas in front of Lyman Hall and the Student Success Center and the space around the front of the Tech Tower, extending out to Cherry Street.
According to Mike Patterson, Director of Design and Construction for the Office of Facilities, the project “is going to add more landscaping enhancements, some benches, some outdoor walls to sit on; so ‘the Hill’ is turning into a pedestrian area.”
Although the project originally was scheduled to be finished by a few days before Homecoming in October, it is currently behind schedule due to some disapproved work that required reconstruction.
“We really feel that there is a very good chance that this project will be finished past Tech Tower [by the current deadline date], but the area connecting it to Cherry Street may still be under work,” Patterson said.
Students and faculty should expect some inconveniences in the Hill area due to the construction. The construction crews are only blocking off the sections they are currently working on, and therefore as the work progresses, the previously closed-off sections will be reopened for pedestrian traffic.
“It was a slight inconvenience earlier when they hadn’t finished paving the path, but now it’s not so much of a problem since they have mostly completed that part of it,” said freshman Han Chang, who attends class in Success Center.
Although there are visible signs for pedestrian direction, the signs change as the crews move to new areas, Chang notes, creating some amount of confusion.
Patterson also said that many students either do not see the signs or ignore them and walk through the construction zone.
Lusk & Associates, the contractor for the project, completed most of the demolition work before the start of classes. Thus, noise in the Hill area is not especially apparent.
“I can’t hear any sound from the construction at all when I’m in class [in the Student Success Center],” said Chang.
The second phase of the Master Plan will entail work in the area from Lyman Hall to Cherry Streetand behind Tech Tower.
From there, the Master Plan calls for eventually designating Cherry Street, part of Bobby Dodd Way, and part of Atlantic Drive as pedestrian-only. The streets will be similarly outfitted with benches and landscape improvements.
Other aspects of the Master Plan include possibly re-routing Ferst Drive, building demolition to make room for new ones, and constructing new buildings in the area between Tech Parkway and Ferst Drive, which is currently being unused.