Joseph F. Smith Building construction continuing


    By Jill Macallister

    Hardhats, hazard signs and holes have become regular images on BYU”s campus.

    Students and faculty members are given new detours and danger warnings each semester, but the inconveniences look more promising as each stage of BYU”s facelift is completed.

    Currently the largest project on campus is the construction of the new Joseph F. Smith Building, which will replace the old Smith Family Living Center.

    The project began in May when General Authorities and project contributors gathered at a ground braking ceremony outside of the old building.

    Construction workers began work immediately after the ground braking and finished demolishing the old building earlier in Aug. The new building is scheduled to be finished Sept. 1, 2004.

    The entire project is being paid for by private donators, President Merrill J. Bateman said.

    The Joseph F. Smith Building will house the College of Humanities and the College of Family, Home and Social Studies.

    The structure will be made up of 27 classrooms, 402 offices, a large auditorium, a theatre and a three-level parking lot with 265 underground stalls.

    When the building is competed, it will be garnished with a landscaped courtyard and a glass gallery.

    Until then, the construction site will be garnished with chain link fences and extremely large cranes. Construction barriers will be put up in three phases during the two-year project, and each will block certain areas of campus to pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

    But the General Authorities and some facility members have been listing of the benefits of the temporary nuisance.

    The building is intended to function as a work of art that sends a visual message, says Van C. Gessel, dean of the College of Humanities.

    The building was designed around the central courtyard to bring natural light into as many spaces as possible.

    “The architectural concept emphasizes light as the source of any kind of knowledge and learning,” Gessel said. “Education at BYU is very much about the light that comes from the spirit.”

    President Bateman explained many of the desired purposes of the new building to students and faculty in May.

    “Relationships between revealed and secular truths will be represented in the building and will demonstrate the connection between both things in heaven and on the earth, Bateman said.

    He expects the students will be blessed by the strong focus on the family that the building will harvest.

    “This new building will allow us to house together scholars researching the family,” says David B. Magleby, dean of the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences.

    Magleby said thousands of BYU undergraduates who are prospective parents will be blessed by the central location of this building filled with information.

    “Here they will gain remarkable insights into the family as the world”s basic unit of society,” Magleby said.

    President Monson quoted writer John Ruskin in his prayer to dedicate the ground braking of the land and said, “When we build, let us think that we build forever.”

    This provided new insight about campus construction for some students.

    “At least my children”s children will still be benefiting from the fruits of our detour,” said Ed Schaller, a computer science major from New Mexico.

    The Joseph F. Smith Building has not been the only cause of roadblocks and rock piles this year.

    In response to the construction on the Talmage Math and Science Building basement, Schaller said, “Well, they dug a hole, and I had to walk around it for a long, long time.”

    In May 2001, fences were put up and students were given extra pathways to track around the Talmage building.

    The construction added a new computer lab under the building, said Evan McNabb an employee in the Computer Science department.

    There is no public access to the new facilities, McNabb said.

    He said, it will host BYU”s computer servers and networks, and it will eventually host the computer servers for the entire church.

    McNabb said the Talmage construction was useful despite the yearlong inconvenience.

    “It will be good to have a data center,” McNabb said. “Right now the church”s computers are all spread out. The data center will concentrate the hardware in one place and boost up security.”

    On-Campus dorms are also on the list of campus attractions to receive a new look.

    The renovation of the eight Helaman Halls buildings will continue this fall with the remodeling on Merrill hall.

    During renovation the halls are stripped to the foundation with only the steel structure of building left, said Norm Faldmo, director of planning.

    The reconstruction started in 1991, and Helaman Halls still has two and a half years until renovation will be complete, Faldmo said.

    The original construction of Helaman Halls was completed in 1958. These halls were built as men”s facilities, said Todd Fischio associate director of residents life.

    It takes about 14 to 18 months to renovate a building, Fischio said.

    No students can live in the Halls while the halls are being renovated. Therefore, Merrill Hall will have no residents living in them for the upcoming fall semester, Fischio said.

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