Welcome Center roof in need of repairs less than year after opening

Alex Brennan, Staff Writer

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One of the newest buildings on campus is already in need of repairs.

The Welcome Center’s walk-on roof is not available at this time due to various repairs needed and will remain out of commission until deemed safe for walking upon. 

The Center reached its final stages of completion less than a year ago, making it a relatively new building on campus. Construction of the building took over two years to complete.

Director of Facilities of Operations and Planning Jim Wolfe said that both the walkway and the plumbing are having technical malfunctions. 

“The walkway is having issues, there are some pieces up there that are not operating as they should,” he said.

Riley Guerzini
The Welcome Center’s walk-on roof is not available at this time due to various repairs needed and will remain out of commission until deemed safe for walking upon.

The tile system sits on a centerpiece that has begun to move, which is the cause for no access at this point in time according to Wolfe. 

“It’s a tile system that sits on four tiles to make a whole, and they sit on a centerpiece, and they’re moving on us,” Wolfe said. 

The issue with the walkway was discovered earlier this month and was taken care of immediately. 

The Welcome Center sits at a medium priority level as the university has taken the necessary actions to prioritize the safety of those who may have utilized the roof.

There has also been an ongoing issue with the Welcome Center’s leaking roof. Wolfe said the reason behind the leaking roof is due to the elevated walkway, and the landscape seems to be holding in the water in the surrounding area “like a mote.” 

Wolfe also said that when the problems with the leaky roof were discovered, they were not the only problems found. 

“Because of the elevated walkway, there are several penetrations that penetrate the concrete and go down to the frame, so it holds up the walkway,” he said. “So you have to wrap that in a way to prevent it from leaking and it’s very hard to do because water will find the smallest, little opening and go into it.”

The original contractor, Empire Contractors, has been called back to fix the various repairs needed and to ensure that these types of problems do not become recurring ones. They are the same contractors who are currently working on the construction of the PAC phase.

“We’ve got the original contractor back in, and they’re working on the system to make it better,” Wolfe said. 

The Welcome Center faced numerous setbacks before it opened in November of 2018. At first, the university couldn’t agree on a price with the contractors. When a bid was finally accepted in 2017, it had gone over $700,000 in the budget.

The Center is named after Dan and Janet Fuquay, who donated a total of $2 million for the construction. Old National Bank also donated $500,000 for the building. The rest of the budget was paid for with money from a special projects fund.

The company that was contracted for the roof is also making a return to work on the damaged roof. If both groups have all the material needed, the wait time on the Welcome Center should only be around a month. 

The cost for the repairs will be taken care of through warranties of both the walkway and for the roof.

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