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Biology Site, E56 Work Begins

By Andrea Lamberti

and Prabhat Mehta

Two construction projects begun this past spring will provide additional space for the biological and managerial sciences.

Construction of the new Ames Street biology building has been divided into two phases -- excavation and construction -- and is currently in the excavation phase. Excavation is expected to be completed in early October, and actual building construction is slated for late October.

At this point, work is on schedule, according to Francis P. Lawton, special assistant to the vice president. The building, which will be Building 68, has a budget of $70 million.

In early August, selected bidding contractors will be allowed to price the building, and a contractor for the second phase will be selected five to six weeks later, Lawton said.

Currently being excavated are eight feet of material that contains some contaminants, primarily petroleum hydrocarbons, at varying levels. Once that has been removed to approved sites, the Ames Street site will be tested again for further contaminants and excavated further.

Once the site has been excavated to a level where the dirt contains no contaminants, which Lawton expects to be about 15 feet, the excavation can proceed much more quickly in preparation for the building foundation.

After initial excavation, interlocking metal sheet piles were driven into the ground to an average level of 46 feet. The piles hold back the ground water and prevent it from falling to a lower level, Lawton said. If the water table fell, wood piles supporting the surrounding buildings could rot.

The first phase will end when all the dirt is excavated and a concrete mat has been laid at the bottom of the hole. This mat is called a "mud mat," Lawton said, and will keep water

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from seeping into the excavated hole through the bottom. At that point the site will be ready for the second phase, construction of the building, which will begin with the foundation and the building's two basements.

The biology building will be six stories tall and is expected to

be completed by December 1993. The physics department, toxicology researchers and the interdepartmental biotechnology research project will occupy space left vacant by the biology department in its current space in Buildings 56 and 16.

The new building will house 32 faculty members.

Work at 36 Memorial

Drive continues

Meanwhile, renovation work in the building on 36 Memorial Drive begun in the spring continues, with the expectation that 10,000 square feet will be ready by Sep. 1, said Victoria V. Sirianni of the Department of Physical Plant.

The 10,000 square feet currently under renovation are on the second, third and penthouse levels and will house a classroom, several smaller seminar rooms and some offices for the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management, Sirianni said.

The future of the rest of the building, which is next to the Alfred P. Sloan Building (E52), is still uncertain. "We're still negotiating that," Sirianni said.

The decision to use much of the space for the Sloan School was made last year. Overcrowding in E52 was cited as the primary reason for expansion.

The building, which is now E56, was formerly occupied by Arthur D. Little, Inc. It became available for academic use after Arthur D. Little's lease expired.