Summer facelift planned for Quad

Clare Murray

There can be no argument that the Quad needs major improvement. The loose stones in this high traffic area are a major complaint of students, faculty and staff. “A lot of people complain about the loose stones,” sophomore Katie Lamers said.”Every time I walk through the Quad with flip-flops on, I get pebbles stuck in my feet,” freshman Eileen Rafferty complained. “I slide around. It’s hard to walk with all the loose stones,” freshman Nirvana Rivera said. Jim Zaleski of Facilities Management agreed that the Quad is in need of an enhancement. “Functionally, with the drainage, the Quad works great,” he said. “What we need to do is make it more aesthetically pleasing.”Facilities Management has developed a plan that they hope will help make the Quad both functional and attractive. The new plan involves increasing the traditional concrete walking areas with smaller blocks of the pervious concrete bordering the walking areas. This will make it easier to walk through the Quad without stepping on loose pebbles. According to Zaleski, this will have no impact on the drainage that the pervious concrete provides. “Right now it is better than twice what we needed,” he explained. “You always over-design on a project of this nature.”The University installed the pervious concrete in order to help slowly drain water, helping to prevent flooding and the loss of ground water. Zaleski is quick to praise the drainage solutions that this new concrete has provided for the campus. “It really helps the University in water management,” he said.The Quad is also a good research experiment. The College of Engineering has been very active in observing how the pervious concrete helps with the environment and management of water around the University.He said that other institutions are also experimenting with the pervious concretes and said that once the technology is perfected we will be seeing pervious concrete “on pretty much every sidewalk.”The major flaw of the present Quad design is that the pervious concrete was laid at the hottest part of the summer causing it to dry too quickly. “When any type of concrete dries too quickly, it cracks,” Zeleski said. “The concrete in the Quad now is very sensitive. Under normal circumstances, there should be no problem with plowing snow and things like that.” Due to generous grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the improvements, which are still covered under the original cost of the project, will not add further costs to the University. Facilities Management is planning to begin the Quad improvement project immediately after graduation, and it is scheduled to take about three weeks, which means the new and improved Quad will be ready in time for the fall semester.The main goal of the project is to create a surface that is, according to Zaleski, “better than a big slab of asphalt.”