Concrete Cuddy to turn scenic with windowed cafe

Windows will replace the south-side concrete of the Lucy Cuddy Hall when a new addition is built.

Designs are in progress for a multi-phased upgrade to the Lucy Cuddy Hall. The first phase will include an expansion to the south side for a caf? and more seating.

“The idea is to try to create a space where people can see in,” Mike Smith, UAA director of facilities planning and construction, said. “Rather than the way it is now, where you have the concrete wall and you’re not really sure what’s inside.”

The cost for phase one is covered by $1.5 million approved last summer by the legislature and governor in the 2007 fiscal year budget.

“There is a need for a much larger renovation for the building for the food preparation area and the little food court inside,” Smith said. “But we don’t have enough money to do that at this time.”

The first phase will include the caf? addition that expands into the Quad on the building’s south side, project manager Kristin Reynolds said. The addition will start in the southwest corner and end where the current coffee stand is located about halfway across the south wall. The new coffee stand will be moved to the west side of the triangular addition, Reynolds said.

In front of the new addition, a curved planter will be built with an 18-inch high retaining wall. This will provide seating in the summer and protect the windows on the building from snowplows during the winter. Inside, the windows will start 24 inches off the floor, above the planter. Reynolds said new seating next to the sunny south-side windows will have standing-height tables to allow occupants to view the quad over the people sitting on the planter outside.

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Two new entrances will also be added to replace one that will be removed: one entrance on the east side of the addition and one in the southwest corner of the annex to allow quicker access to the building.

“The big problem with Cuddy is it’s just old, and unfortunately to change it is probably outside at least the current finances that we have,” Bill Spindle, UAA’s director of business services, said. “We are a little bit afraid to touch the kitchen until we get enough money to really do it right, but there will be some cosmetic changes.”

The budget does allow the kitchen tile and grout to be fixed, as well as an upgrade of the electrical service to meet new code standards, Smith said. Also, new tables and chairs will replace the old by September, Reynolds said.

“We’re not trying to avoid having to doing any of it, we’re just trying to do it as we have money, so we’re doing it in parts,” Reynolds said.

The university hopes to gain approval and funds for future phases, including a kitchen update and a west-side addition for office space and more seating.

“We choose to do this phase, the front of the building, the entrance,” Reynolds said. “Because one, it fits the budget more closely that we have allowed, and two, one of the things that we wanted to do was be able to make it more obvious that the building actually is a food service and make it more inviting. So putting on this new annex to the front of the building will draw attention to it. You’ll be able to see inside of it from across the quad, as far as people eating and having coffee and enjoying themselves. Right now you just can’t see into it at all. You’d never know that it’s not a science lab.”

The design isn’t completely solidified. Reynolds said he hopes modifications will be finished soon, in time for the construction area to be secured before the fall semester starts.

Smith said operations and student access to the Lucy Cuddy Hall should only be affected slightly, mostly during the tile and electrical updates. The rest of the time, a barrier will protect students from the construction area. The southeast entrance, near Rasmuson Hall, will be open. Reynolds said coordination of equipment movement will be made with construction crews to prevent interference with student activity.

The building will be closed over winter break for final preparations, and construction should be complete when students return for the spring semester, Reynolds said. The planter won’t be complete until next summer. UAA’s landscaping crew will create the vegetation design to insure it can be properly maintained. Reynolds anticipates it will contain low-growing plants to prevent blocking the window view. There is also a possibility that the south-side statue, which will be removed to protect it during construction, may be placed in the planter.

Smith said decisions still need to be made on where snow will be piled to clear the 20-foot wide fire-truck access. Bike rack locations also need to be decided, Reynolds said.