Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UIS arts building to get upgrades

The University of Illinois Springfield expects to start work next month on a project that will significantly upgrade its Visual and Performing Arts Building.

The improvements include life-safety upgrades, including the heating and ventilation systems, dust removal, and upgrades to the outdoor kiln area. “The building will look the same when it is finished, but the enhancements will be tremendous,” said Chuck Coderko, director of construction at UIS.

The Visual and Performing Arts Building, erected in 1970, is one of the original east campus buildings at UIS. Coderko said the total $855,700 project will include a new ventilation system that will help in ceramics and painting areas where solvents are used. “It also will really help keep the dust out,” he said.

On the south side of building, an open-air kiln for ceramics will get new gas piping and burners that Coderko said will be “a huge improvement.”

The sculpture shop employs many power tools to work with wood and plastics, and a new compressed-air system, as well as a central vacuum system to handle dust, will be installed. Coderko said the old compressed-air system wasn’t as strong.

There also will be electrical upgrades and new stainless-steel sinks. “This will help to make it a better work environment for students and faculty,” he said.

The state of Illinois last week released about $334,000 from the Illinois Jobs Now! construction program for the project, with UIS allocating about $510,000 generated by student fees. The project construction cost is about $598,000.

Coderko said it took two years to get the project designed and bid. Work was supposed to begin last summer, but the project had to be rebid twice, which slowed the process. Although work will begin in about a month, it won’t be in earnest until school is out in May. The project should be completed about this time next year, he said.

The story was reported in The State Journal-Register on October 22, 2014.

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