As students witness a rise in campus construction, older historic structures in and around the Quad are receiving much needed exterior repair.
According to data provided by the office of Facility Services, 52 percent of the University’s 539 buildings are more than 50 years old – a sizable number with minimal to extensive stucco damage.
University historian and professor Paul Hoffman said the combination of age and old stucco-application methods are to blame.
“These buildings have a poured reinforced concrete skeleton, and then everything else is added. So when they put the walls on by not allowing for expansion and contraction, they set them up for cracks to develop in the stucco,” Hoffman said. “If you look at where the cracks are, they’re only on certain sides of the building — generally the ones facing the sun.”
Roger Husser, director of Planning, Design and Construction for Facility Services, said his department has already addressed many restoration projects including the Memorial Toweras as well as Acadian and Evangeline residence halls and are currently repairing Allen and Prescott halls.
Repair men inject a developed two-part epoxy into cracks. The spots are then sealed and finished with a combination of rock and sand to give the desired stucco look.
But the process is slowed due to funding and the extent of damaged buildings, Husser said. He said Facility Services invests between $100,000 to $150,000 in repairs annually.
“I would like to have the funding to repair every crack on campus in the next six months, but we just don’t have that kind of funding,” he said.
Fortunately, Husser said these cracks are merely an aesthetic issue but can become a structural problem if left untreated.
Husser said upcoming projects include The Old President’s House, Coates, David Boyd and Himes halls.
Though repairs are costly, Husser said they are necessary to maintain the University’s beauty and historical architecture.