The University of Texas at Austin
  • Tower upgrade brings temporary changes to lighting configurations

    By Laurie Lentz, Project Management and Construction Services
    Laurie Lentz, Project Management and Construction Services
    Published: June 1, 2010

    The iconic Tower at The University of Texas at Austin will undergo temporary, visible changes between July 2010 and February 2011 while the air-handling unit on the observation deck level of the Tower is replaced.

    The unit that cools the Tower levels from the 15th floor to the observation deck (level 29) is 45 years old and failing. Despite numerous repairs, some of the Tower floors cannot be cooled below the mid-80-degree point in summer months.

    The observation deck will be closed to visitors and tours. All exterior Tower lighting on the north face –- white as well as orange -– will be disconnected for the duration of the project. Only three sides of the Tower will be illuminated.

    Movement on the north clock will also be stopped for the duration of the project. With access to the primary carillon closed, the carillonist will play from a remote keyboard that does not allow all bells to be played.

    The paved area directly north of the Tower will be fenced off, and both adjacent courtyards will be closed. Cranes will be set up to move equipment and materials to and from the Tower. Pedestrian and vehicle traffic around the north side of the Main Building will be rerouted.

    Actual turnover of the system from the old to the new air-handling unit will occur during the university’s winter holiday break in December. In January and February, the site and operations will be returned to normal.

    The university’s Project Management and Construction Services Department will manage the project.

    • Quote 2
      Jack said on Nov. 7, 2010 at 5:05 p.m.
      The point of repairing the air-conditioning system in winter is that it can't be RUNNING when you remove it and replace it. If you do that in summer there's no air-conditioning all summer. If you do it in winter then it doesn't matter that its offline and come summertime you have a new air-conditioner.
    • Quote 2
      devinrogers said on Oct. 5, 2010 at 12:07 a.m.
      Are you sure about this?
    • Quote 2
      Noshin said on Sept. 27, 2010 at 8:53 p.m.
      Buddy, it's the end of September -- you just missed the summer. What's the point of repairing the air conditioning system now?
    • Quote 2
      DoneWithConstruction said on Sept. 15, 2010 at 9:24 p.m.
      Why can't we just stick to one upgrade at a time? Some of these buildings have been under construction for how long? And we're adding another? Good luck at having that finished by February.
    • Quote 2
      czech said on Sept. 8, 2010 at 12:19 p.m.
      So why is money being wasted on tearing up Dean Keaton? I'm all for making repairs to buildings or adding new ones, but what was wrong with Dean Keaton St.? They're just throwing away money and creating traffic.
    • Quote 2
      R2 said on July 13, 2010 at 9:47 p.m.
      Is there ANYTHING that people won't complain about? They complain if you fix things and complain if you don't. We have an extraordinarily beautiful campus. Keeping it repaired and in good condition can only be done in cycles. Please put your university studies to good use and learn what it takes to run an organization of this magnitude. God bless Texas!!
    • Quote 2
      TEXAS said on July 13, 2010 at 12:37 a.m.
      I love Texas.
    • Quote 2
      Ron Burgundy said on July 1, 2010 at 2:57 p.m.
      News flash! The University of Texas at Austin campus is old and falling apart. State budget shortfalls severely limit the ability of campus facility services to tackle their incredible backlog of repair, renovation and maintenance projects. Legislators and campus administrators are considering reclassifying rusted and horrible looking buildings as "rustic" hoping to alleviate concern that buildings look rusted and horrible.
    • Quote 2
      R said on June 29, 2010 at 8:49 a.m.
      The metal panels between the windows on the tower are rusted an look horrible. It is a stain on the visual centerpiece of the campus to allow the maintenance to fall so short and makes the campus look old and falling apart. While you have the cranes in place, it makes sense to start the process of fixing them. At this point, it appears they need repair, not just a paint job.
    • Quote 2
      really said on June 4, 2010 at 4:07 p.m.
      It's a little childish to want the university to cancel the upgrade just because the tower won't be completely lit after football games isn't it? I bet orangeblood and matt wouldn't be complaining if they had to work all summer in an 85-degree office when it's well into the 90s or 100s outside.
    • Quote 2
      jim said on June 4, 2010 at 6:58 a.m.
      After 45 years, it is only reasonable to upgrade the air handlers. It amazes me how upset people get with a temporary inconvenience, that will in the long run, benefit the hard working people in the Tower.
    • Quote 2
      matt said on June 3, 2010 at 2:17 p.m.
      What position do you play on the football team Orangeblood? Hope mad dog is keeping you in good shape. You are right though, the University should cancel this upgrade so things can stay cool.
    • Quote 2
      William (Tower Tours) said on June 3, 2010 at 8:20 a.m.
      Tower Tours are only suspended beginning June 27 until Spring 2011. There will be no replacement of the Tower elevators during that time-- the focus is only the A/C unit on the 28th floor down to the 15th.
    • Quote 2
      orangeblood said on June 1, 2010 at 9:11 p.m.
      So you're telling me we're gonna have a 3 sided tower lit up during my senior football season here at UT? Not cool at all.
    • Quote 2
      Nicholas Gerow said on June 1, 2010 at 4:02 p.m.
      I am wondering if the Tower elevators that serve floors 1-27 are going to be upgraded in addition to the air handling units, since the tower tours will be canceled, due to this project.
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