How we spent our summer vacation

Above: East end construction workers model the latest summer fashion trend: PVC sleeves.

Whether you are returning student, faculty or staff, or here for the first time, we welcome you home, WashU! We’re glad you’re here.

For many of us, summer is a time to relax, spend time with family and friends, or perhaps pursue interests outside of academia. But for those of us involved with the East End Transformation project, it was business as usual during the long, hot days of summer. Onsite crews averaged 325 tradespeople daily. From the day after Commencement, May 19, through the start of classes Aug. 27, workers logged approximately 181,000 hours.

Major milestones

Some major milestones were achieved this summer. Perhaps most notable was the completion of the concrete top, or lid, of the new east end garage. Work pouring the massive surface began in early May and was completed mid-July.

Constructoin workers in orange shirts pour concrete onto a massive surface.

The footprint of the garage is so large that the lid had to be poured in segments. The first segment required 112 loads of concrete to be poured without interruption for 12 hours.

large expanse of concrete on a construction site with red cranes

Below is a shot of the east end site taken Aug. 28. The black squares are the start of the waterproofing process for the lid and exterior garage walls. The building in the foreground on the left is the Gary M. Sumers Welcome Center and to the right of Sumers is Weil Hall. The south garage ramp can be seen at the bottom of the photograph.

large construction site with red cranes and buildings being erected

Ultimately, the entire lid will be covered with grass and buried beneath Ann and Andrew Tisch Park. As part of the university’s commitment to sustainability, the park’s landscape will feature rain gardens with bioretention, native and adaptive plantings, as well as a diverse variety of trees.

On July 25, university leadership toured the garage’s interior for the first time. Here’s what they had to say:

Though the lid may be completed, a lot of work remains before the garage can be put into use. Pedestrian safety entering and exiting the garage is the most important consideration. Stairwells need to be finished and lighting installed. Since the surrounding area will be an active construction zone until May 2019, the garage will not be open for community use until the East End Transformation is substantially complete.

Other benchmarks

Regrading at North and South Brookings

During the summer, Brookings Hall was only accessible from the west. Beginning Aug. 27, entrances to North and South Brookings re-opened to newly completed sidewalks. Connections were reestablished to the School of Engineering & Applied Science to the north and to the Brown School to the south. These pathways are part of the landscape component of the project. The completed landscape will provide full accessibility to Brookings and the hilltop of the Danforth Campus from the east end.

Structural steel erected for Sumers, Schnuck Pavilion

The structural steel frames,  250 tons in total, were erected for Sumers Welcome Center and for the Craig and Nancy Schnuck Pavilion. Smaller in scale to other east end buildings, both structures will be enclosed in glass and offer new views of iconic Brookings Hall.

Kemper Art Museum expansion begins

At the end of May, museum staff packed away the Kemper’s collection for safekeeping during construction. Demolition began on the building’s north elevation to make way for new exhibition space and a new entrance. While the museum is closed, the Kenneth and Nancy Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library remains open. The Study Room will be available by appointment.

Large gray supports sit in the foreground of a building under construction.

A construction worker on a scaffold does masonry work on the side of a building

We’re halfway there!

Substantial completion of the East End Transformation is on track for early May 2019. Construction of James M. McKelvey, Sr. Hall begins this September and is slated for completion in 2020.

Learn more about the East End Transformation.