Over the past several weeks, Tech has played host to a variety of noticeable construction projects. One of these additions to Tech real estate is the new Acuity Plaza, located at the intersection of 5th Street and W. Peachtree Street, in front of the College of Management.
Named for its sponsor, Acuity Brands, the plaza contains a large raised green space with colorful tables and chairs for visitors, surrounded by numerous trees and plant life.
The space was designed to be aesthetically pleasing and to fit in with the architectural style of the College of Management. In addition, this area effectively utilizes the space available to provide safe and easy access to pedestrians into the College of Management.
Prior to its construction, the land was a short road where cars and vehicles would use to drop people off at the College of Management. At this time, it was also used as the second outbound Tech Trolley stop in Tech Square.
The College of Management saw the space unfriendly to pedestrians and as a potential hazard because cars could use the road to cut across from Spring St. to West Peachtree St.
The idea to convert the area into a more pedestrian friendly place was conceived under the tenure of Robert Thompson, former executive Vice President of Administration and Finance. Construction began on October 2007, after the initial stages of planning and design
“One of the most challenging aspects of this project was getting the materials,” said Jerry Young, Acuity Plaza project manager.
Much of the limestone surrounding the green space had to be specially cut for the project and shipped from Wisconsin.
Concrete paving was replaced with brick to deter vehicular traffic and to create a more unified design with the College of Management building. Acuity Plaza is set to have its officially opening in one week.
In addition, Tech Facilities department is involved in numerous utility construction projects. The most visible of these is the construction taking place on Techwood Drive.
In partnership with Atlanta Gas and Light (AGL) Company and the City of Atlanta, Facilities is working to install larger gas pipelines under the city of Atlanta and Tech.
Facilities is not working directly on the project but is working with the city of Atlanta and AGL to ensure that the work is done in a timely manner and that departments like Parking and Housing are kept well informed of their progress.
Rising consumption and a jump in population over the past few years have necessitated this project to install larger gas pipelines.
Construction began three months ago and has taken place in numerous locations across campus.
Most recently, construction crews worked on 5th Street near the baseball field and are currently employed on the infrastructure under Techwood Drive.
“Work on the gas lines should end in late September,” said Casey Charepoo, Utilities Superintendent. The workers are planning on replacing pipelines down near Bobby Dodd Stadium before repaving the roads.
The facilities department also has numerous projects lined up for the near future.
Construction crews aim to begin work on campus sewer systems early next year, installing closed circuit television systems (CCTV) on all major lines.
This will help prevent and aid in the repair of any sewer main breakage. At the same time, the facilities department also plans to upgrade the water systems across campus.
Not all of the changes will take place underground, however. After Acuity Plaza’s official opening ceremony, Young will undertake a new project located at the intersection of Ferst and Atlantic Drive that will be called the Atlantic Promenade.
This project is intended to bridge the space between the Parker H. Petit Biotechnology Building and the new Nanotechnology Building that is currently under construction.
This project has similar goals to the ones set for Acuity Plaza, in that it is to try and create a more pedestrian friendly space and deter vehicular traffic from the area, while providing easy access to the planned Clough building.