Neighbors celebrate construction’s endTo cap off a summer-long construction project that left neighbors struggling with detours, the drone of heavy machinery and the occasional water outage, the University of Wisconsin-Superior will serve up ice cream during a community event Thursday.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
To cap off a summer-long construction project that left neighbors struggling with detours, the drone of heavy machinery and the occasional water outage, the University of Wisconsin-Superior will serve up ice cream during a community event Thursday.
“It’s the least we can offer the neighbors,” said Tom Fennessey, director of facilities for the campus.
Some residents were hit with a “double whammy,” affected by steam line replacement work and renovation of the nearby Ross and Hawkes halls.
“My block on Faxon (Street) and some other blocks, especially by the (Jim Dan Hill) library were just upended,” said Monica Tikkanen, human resources director for the Superior School District.
For her, construction began shortly after the June 20, 2012, flood. It included the installation of a new driveway and the loss of part of her yard when Faxon Street was shifted four feet to the south. As the projects were nearing completion, she contacted UWS Chancellor Renee Wachter.
“I said ‘Let’s make something positive about this,’” Tikkanen said. “It’s over; let’s celebrate.”
Residents who live in the area from North 21st Street to Superior High School and Lamborn Avenue to the UWS heating plant are invited to swing by Ross and Hawkes halls 6-8 p.m. Thursday for ice cream, door prizes and a sneak peek at the renovated space. They will be among the first to tour the new lobby that links the two buildings, which houses a fireplace, curved couches and built-in seating for presentations.
“It’s a way to celebrate, show them some of our new buildings and say ‘Thanks for your patience and understanding,’” Fennessey said.
He encouraged all the neighbors to stop by to cheer the end of disruptions. Invitations proclaiming “No more detours” were sent to about 150 homes this week. Lisa Walsh got hers, and she’s planning to attend.
“We’re ready to celebrate,” said Walsh. She moved into her home on Faxon Street two months before the 2012 flood. Both the flood and the campus construction affected Walsh’s home, but she said that construction workers were helpful and most of the outages and activity happened during the day while she was at work.
“Everyone was inconvenienced but we worked together through it and it’s over,” Tikkanen said, and neighbors reached out to help each other.
While the party is intended as a “thank you” to neighbors from the university, it is also a celebration of the entire community.
“I just think it’s a nice chance for people to get together,” said Walsh, who is looking forward to meeting more of her neighbors.
The rest of the public will get to check out the renovated residence halls soon. A grand opening for Ross and Hawkes halls is slated for Nov. 15, according to Mickey Fitch, assistant director of residence life for UWS. The final phase of the steam line work is slated for the summer of 2014, said Fennessey.