MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University is using the last remaining days before winter hits to its advantage in preparation for a massive construction effort set to begin next spring.
An area southwest of the current John X. Jamrich Hall has been cleared for what will eventually become a new parking lot. The area will also be used during construction of a new, $34.3 million hall - which will keep the Jamrich name - for builders to house their trailers and construction materials.
"They need to have that prepared so they can actually start on the site as early as they can in the spring," said Cindy Paavola, director of Communications and Marketing for NMU. "The earth is movable right now and in the spring, it sometimes takes a while to thaw out."
Crews work to level the ground near John X. Jamrich Hall on Northern Michigan University’s campus. The area will be used by construction crews next spring to store trailers and materials for a new, $34.3 million academic and office building that will attach to the Learning Resources Center. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
The new Jamrich Hall will attach to the southeast side of the Learning Resources Center and will be home to classrooms and office space, as the current Jamrich Hall and Walter F. Gries Hall will be razed once construction is complete.
The university is also moving along on schedule in its construction of a new cogeneration combined heat and power plant, located along Wright Street.
According to Gisele Duehring, associate director of facilities and heating plants at Northern, crews are currently working on masonry and piping on the new plant.
"The main thing is masonry," Duehring said. "They just started putting windows in, and they're actually a little ahead of schedule on that part...
"What you can't see from the outside is the piping they're putting in and the conduit. The piping is both in the new plant and existing plant."
Duehring said a test run for the new plant is scheduled for sometime in the first quarter of 2013, with the plant slated to be fully operational in the second quarter.
The new plant will use wood chips and other wood byproducts from the Upper Peninsula for fuel.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.