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Powerhouse construction still on track, interim director says

Beloit College’s eight-year Powerhouse project is reportedly entering its eleventh hour.  Powerhouse Director and Interim SEAL Director Steve Robinson and the rest of the committee have repeatedly expressed that the building will be, to an extent, operational by before fall break of the 2019-20 school year. The project recently took a step forward with the installation of the pool truss, allowing Corporate Contractors Inc. (CCI), the construction company working with Beloit to fulfill the college’s vision of the project, to begin work on the roof and dig out the pool. Both projects are expected to begin within the week.

“We are tracking on time, and on time for us means an early fall opening. It won’t be the day that semester starts, but we’re looking at a time span of still, like, early fall, you know? An ideal scenario would be before a fall break and that’s what we’re still hoping for,” Robinson said. “Again, with a construction project of this magnitude, things happen. But our awesome partners in CCI are working really hard to try to make that deadline, and beat it. So I am really happy about the work that they’ve done and the ways they’ve tried to catch up.”

The construction is working from the ground up, and CCI has yet to lay down the third floor of the building, but on the second, first and the basement, construction is moving at a quick pace. Many rooms such as the second floor “nook and cranny” spaces, multipurpose rooms, the first floor locker rooms, the basement auditorium, the poolhouse and batting cages are clearly defined and have at the very least scaffolding, with some even having the walls that will be there once the building opens. The scaffolding for the elevator is also in place, a feature which the design committee considered to be vital.

“From the beginning, they set a goal that every space in the entire building would be fully accessible,” Robinson said. “ADA compliant, and they, and they checked that box. And that wasn’t something that the planning group would budge on.”

Though he has only been at the college for six months, Robinson is aware of the widespread student concerns about how the Powerhouse may change campus culture, fearing it will push Beloit farther away from the liberal arts atmosphere for which it has been known for so long and pushing it more towards a sports oriented culture. “Students have been involved from the very beginning of the project,”  Robinson said. He went on to say that a large portion of the ideas for what rooms and facilities would be included, stemmed from an exploratory committee made up of students and on-campus stakeholders.

“I hope that our current student body, who may not have been part of those earlier phases, understand that their alumni and their friends who have since graduated, we’re the ones who sort of made the decisions on those spaces.”

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