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Harry Ransom Center renovations delayed by campus weather delays

Laurie Lentz, communications manager for Campus Planning & Facilities Management, told The Horn that campus weather delays from the semester have pushed back the original expected completion date of the renovations to the Harry Ransom Center.

Renovation of the exterior of the Harry Ransom Center has been delayed due to rainy and cold weather condition, a recent release from the Campus Planning & Facilities Management said. 

Laurie Lentz, communications manager for Campus Planning & Facilities Management, said recent weather conditions have delayed the renovation completion date from May 9 to June 10. Lentz said the recent delay has not been detrimental to the construction project. 

“We hoped to have the renovation complete sooner rather than later,” Lentz said. “However, weather days are not uncommon with exterior renovations and this delay has not created a very critical situation.” 

The renovation began Nov. 19 and includes repairing cracked mortar joints, installing dual gaskets at pivoting doors, sealing the perimeter of windows, sealing joints at zipper gasket windows and repairing broken stone pavers. 

No exterior maintenance has been done since the center was designed in 1968 and built in the early 1970s. Lentz said the center has never done renovations previously because there was no necessity. Now more than 40 years later, some of the building materials have deteriorated and require replacement.

“We try to prioritize and do renovations based on need,” Lentz said. “A few years ago the deterioration wasn’t at a point where it was necessary to be fixed. Now, we have decided to address multiple exterior issues at once while it is still feasible and desirable.” 

The total project cost is $400,000 and the cost of construction is $270,000. The center staff is using the 2012-2013 funds from the Library, Equipment, Repair and Rehabilitation (LERR) fund.

The center has about $1.4 billion of original, valuable items such as books, photographs and paintings. Jim Janknegt, building manager for the center, said the condition of these items will not be affected by the construction.

“The staff is trying to preserve the items by keeping the building to a certain humidity point and temperature so that the items will not be damaged,” Janknegt said.

Janknegt said any more critically rainy days would further delay the renovation project. He said the days missed will be added on at the end of the semester to finish.

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