Shattuck Hall to close

    Shattuck Hall will close beginning winter term 2007 for $13.5 million of renovation, displacing 10 classrooms and some campus offices. The Portland State administration expects the building to remain closed until fall term 2008, reopening after construction is complete.

    The most expensive chunk of the renovation budget will be used for seismic upgrading of the building, to make it more stable in case of an earthquake.

    ”Considering that [Shattuck Hall] has been around for over 90 years, it’s in pretty good shape,” said Francis McBride, supervising architect for PSU Facilities and project manager for the Shattuck renovation. “But a lot can be done to make the building safer.”

    Nine classrooms will open up in the Unitus Building in order to compensate for the loss of Shattuck Hall classrooms. The Unitus Building, located on Southwest Lincoln and Fourth Avenue, is on long-term lease to the university and houses several commercial spaces, including the building’s namesake, the Unitus Community Credit Union.

    The architecture department office, currently located on the second floor of the Shattuck, will also be relocated to the Unitus Building.

    The Office of Information Technology (OIT) and the campus computing and network services office will be relocated permanently to the Fourth Avenue Building, a move OIT planned before construction was proposed.

    ”We’re happy about the move. Shattuck wasn’t the best building for us because of the seismic issues,” said Mark Gregory, associate vice president for strategic planning, partnerships and technology. “We also had some problems with leaks in some of the offices. We have a lot of sensitive equipment and important data, and it wasn’t the safest place for that, or for our employees.”

    McBride said that the university plans to entirely replace the roof, supporting the parapets with braces to keep them from falling off during a quake. PSU will secure suspended brick and terra cotta, and will reinforce the building’s main passageways. The building’s concrete structure should ease the process of seismic upgrading, according to McBride.

    Renovation will also improve the heating and cooling problems with the building. Shattuck will be connected to the underground heating and cooling system that connects most of the central campus buildings.

    ”The building was originally an elementary school and didn’t operate during the summer months,” said McBride. “Now it is open 12 months out of the year, and we need to resolve the cooling and ventilation issues.”    

    McBride said that they plan to use a hybrid system of improved ventilation and air conditioning to control temperature within the building, which PSU President Daniel Bernstine has said was often higher than the university would like.

    More efficient heating systems and insulation will be installed so that the building does not waste as much energy. The baseline energy use for Shattuck is currently almost twice as high as most other buildings on campus.

    Some of the asbestos in the building will be removed, but most of the asbestos floor tiling will likely remain, because it does not pose a substantial enough hazard, according to McBride.

    ”The asbestos that we encounter in construction will be either removed or contained,” he said. “We use an encapsulation process that seals off the asbestos.”

    Upgrades will be made to improve accessibility, including making the restrooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    The ETS/Project PLUS and Upward Bound offices, also located in Shattuck Hall, will relocate to the Fifth Avenue Business Center. The program’s staff members are not sure whether they will be able to return to Shattuck after construction, but said it is better to be closer to campus. “We work with pre-college students, and it’s a disadvantage to be located away from the center of campus, with a bar next door and dangerous street crossings all around us,” said David Maslane, the ETS/Project PLUS High School Coordinator.

    According to 2005 press release, Bernstine said the renovation of Shattuck Hall is more cost-efficient than replacing it. It would cost $24.4 million to duplicate the building from scratch after the projected renovations.

    ”We’re just in the design phase right now. Real construction will begin in the summer,” said McBride.

Design work was halted earlier this year pending results from the midterm elections. If Measure 48, a bill that would have capped state spending, had passed, renovation might have been precluded altogether.

    The building is closing during this early phase of construction because construction work would take longer if the building were occupied, would be more expensive and would cause distracting noises for students and faculty, according to McBride.

    In 2005, the state legislature authorized $410 million, the most ever, for the entire Oregon University System in the 2005-07 biennium for capital improvements to campuses, authorizing a little over $100 million for PSU.

    Of this construction budget, $13.5 millions was earmarked for the deferred maintenance project that is the Shattuck Hall renovation. Major funding for the project will come from $7,312,000 in lottery bonds and $6,383,000 in energy loans. Campus auxiliary and fee revenues, donations and general fund appropriation will also contribute to the project budget. Other major improvement projects include a new recreation center, originally estimated at $42 million but now estimated at $81 million, and 110 new parking spaces, costing $30 million.