Photo by Blake Israel

Last month, the Georgia Board of Regents approved a new renovation project on the Tech Tower.

“It is an important building to keep in use and to take care of,” said Linda Daniels, Associate Director of Capital Planning and Space Management. “It’s a very desirable place to be. Instead of just changing offices here and there on an ad hoc patchwork basis, we decided to take a strategic look at what needed to be done in the building and then prioritize those.”

This project differs from previous ones because, according to Daniels, it approaches the task of renovation from a more orderly and wholesome perspective as opposed to the isolated “ad hoc” renovations that have occurred in the building at different times in the past.

The renovation project will be of two types, the programmatic goals and the compliance components. The programmatic goals focus on the restructuring of workspaces inside the building. It includes the relocation of the Dean of Ivan Allen College to the building and expansion of the suite of College of Sciences Dean among others. There will also be maintenance upgrades such as the addition of standardized air conditioning units throughout the building.

Along with the revamping of the office spaces, there will be an addition of a stairwell and an elevator that will access all five floors of the building. The second part of the renovation project will include safety improvements. There will be addition of sprinklers on each floor, changes to facilitate easier evacuation in cases of emergency and other upgrades to meet the new ADA requirements.

The project budget is set at $7.5 million. Of this amount “about $6 million is construction while the other has to do with relocation, project design, and testing and monitoring before the construction begins.”

The project will likely take between two and three years because people will still have to work in the building during the renovation.

During the course of the project, student organizations which have space in the building will have to be relocated.

“Probably during the summer will be the first time that any construction project will begin since there will be minimal disturbance to the occupants at that time,” Daniels said. “The renovation will attempt to strike a balance between effective renovations and historical preservation of the building.”

Tech Tower used to have a grand staircase that led up to the upper floors in the main entrance hall until it was destroyed in the renovations in the 1960s.

Since its construction in 1888, Tech Tower has undergone numerous renovations with more than 20 such projects in just the last 70 years.