SY renovations on schedule at halfway point

Saybrook College renovations are substantially on schedule as the project reaches its halfway point.

The $48 million effort is in its 25th week and total work was 48 percent complete as of Monday, according to an e-mail sent yesterday to administrators based on the contractor’s progress reports. All elements of the overhaul are slated to be finished by mid-August, a sharp contrast to the final completion date of Branford College.

Fusco Corp. has used double shifts to maintain its accelerated work schedule to make up for time lost before it was hired to do the job in July. Yale fired the Saybrook’s original contractor, Barclay White Inc., last summer after it had fallen far behind it in its work on Branford.

But with Saybrook renovations proceeding smoothly, it is unlikely that its students will experience the delays to heavily-trafficked areas that Branford endured.

“We are pleased,” Yale President Richard Levin said. “Fusco has been very reliable.”

University administrators attribute the difference in construction pace to several major distinctions between the two projects.

Provost Alison Richard, Yale’s chief academic and financial officer, said inconsistencies between the blueprints and actual Branford buildings, late changes in renovation designs, and Barclay White’s poor management of time, among other reasons, contributed to Branford delays. She said none of those factors have played a significant role in renovations to Saybrook.

New Haven-based Fusco is operating on a double-shift schedule in Saybrook, beginning work at 7 a.m. and finishing as late as 10 p.m., as required by city ordinances, Fusco construction manager Andy Dorman said.

In the fall, Branford students complained that noise long into the night from the Saybrook demolition project was disturbing. While the near around-the-clock efforts were potentially distracting, Yale director of project management Arch Currie said they were critical to ensuring that construction did not fall behind. Noise complaints, however, no longer seem to be an issue.

Construction workers are currently in the middle of several major stages of the Saybrook overhaul. Projects include structural steel placement in key areas, perimeter masonry cleaning, painting and staining, Dorman said.

Demolition is 96 percent complete with work in the Saybrook Tower remaining. Progress in the tower was held up for 11 days as Fusco waited for information from the Yale fire marshall about exit requirements. The delay is now described as “critical,” according to the e-mail, but subcontractors are working to make up the time lost.

The completion date for student residences is set at Aug. 3, with the multipurpose area and kitchen slated to be finished by Aug. 18.

“I continue to be an optimist tempered by the reality of the track record, which is actually against us,” Saybrook Master Mary Miller said. “I think they’re working very hard on taking the lessons they can from Branford.”

Saybrook College renovations are on schedule as the project reaches its halfway mark. The target completion date for the project is Aug. 18.
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Saybrook College renovations are on schedule as the project reaches its halfway mark. The target completion date for the project is Aug. 18.

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