Old Main expected to reopen on time in August

Restored Old Main expected to reopen in August

2014-05-01T16:01:00Z 2014-05-02T07:39:59Z Restored Old Main expected to reopen in AugustBy Tom Beal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 01, 2014 4:01 pm  • 

The $13.5 million renovation of the University of Arizona’s oldest building will be completed on time in August, project managers for the construction firm and the UA said Thursday.

No unpleasant surprises were uncovered during the renovation of Old Main, said Rodney Mackey, of UA Planning, Design and Construction.

Workers did find that the original builder used planks from his own advertising signs to create the ceiling/subfloor between the building’s two floors.

During a tour of the project, he displayed several boards reading “M.J. Sullivan Carpenter & Builder.”

“Lumber was a little hard to come by” in 1887 when construction of the building began, Mackey said.

Old Main was the only building on campus when it opened in 1891.

Workers also uncovered a 1911 yearbook stamped by legendary UA sports coach James F. “Pop” McKale.

UA President Ann Weaver Hart and members of her staff will move into the north wing of the second floor.

The rest of that floor will contain a boardroom, an all-purpose room with dinner seating for 75 and a “Cruciform Gallery,” with exhibits from the UA’s various museums and art galleries.

Recruitment, enrollment and admissions offices will return to the ground floor, which will also be a gathering place for tours for incoming students.

“We’re intending to have people working at their desks on Aug. 15,” said architect Corky Poster of Poster Frost Mirto.

Fred Briscoe of Sundt Construction said this is the second time his firm has rescued Old Main. The firm rebuilt it in 1942 after it had been condemned by city inspectors. “We’re honored to be back here again,” Briscoe said.

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