Joe Podelco / Photo editor
Starting in mid-July, the Northwest Parking Garage, located across from the Knowlton School of Architecture, will close for repairs that are estimated to cost more than $1 million.
“Restorations are not cheap,” said Chris Henderson, project manager with design and construction for Facilities Operations and Development. “Depending on the work, it may take a little bit more or less (money) than what we anticipate.”
Henderson said the project will include concrete slab repairs, ranging from partial to full depth, and will be replaced with newer concrete. It is set to last roughly a month-and-a-half and will re-open at the beginning of September.
The project will also include beam and column repairs and work on the stair towers and soffit areas, or underside of the roof. Drains will also be repaired, along with paint touch up and re-striping, or repainting the parking places, of the entire garage.
“Level five of the parking garage will be replaced with a waterproof membrane to help protect the concrete from sun exposure,” Henderson said. “Levels two through four will also receive a water proof membrane top coat.”
The Northwest Garage, built in 1974, underwent complete renovations in 2000 that cost about $1.6 million, said Sarah Blouch, executive director for OSU’s Transportation and Parking Services.
“We like to make sure to do a full (floor) restoration every 10 years … to make sure they can last for a very long time,” Blouch said. “If we don’t fix them … they’re going to get bad.”
Dominic Vecchio, a fourth-year in construction systems management, said a restoration every 10 years, especially on parking garages, is a normal amount of time considering the circumstances the garages go through.
“Concrete doesn’t last forever,” Vecchio said. “(Parking garages are) used so frequently and are exposed to all elements of weather, such as wind, rain, snow and heat. It just seems like the right amount of time to me.”
Vecchio also said concrete corrosion “happens to almost all buildings,” especially parking garages because of the constant flow of traffic.
During Fall Quarter 2010, Boone Concrete Restoration of Columbus repaired a 2-foot-wide hole on the fifth floor of Northwest Garage and replaced it with new concrete, a project that cost Ohio State more than $139,000, Henderson said.
“Considering we are repairing the entire garage, this is a much larger project,” Henderson said. “Some of the concrete shows signs of failing, and we’re trying to prevent future holes (from happening) before matters become worse.”
Kerrie Kirkpatrick, a professor in the College of Engineering, parks in the Northwest Garage almost everyday, but said she does not think twice about the structure of the building.
“The building itself doesn’t bother me, so I really don’t think about it,” Kirkpatrick said. “Sometimes I see some of the spots on the second and third floor are blocked off with cones, and that concerns me a little because it doesn’t show an explanation of why.”
Compared to the other garages, Kirkpatrick said she thinks it is a smart idea the Northwest Garage undergoes repairs in the summer.
“For these next two weeks I just hope nothing ever happens,” Kirkpatrick said.
A construction company has not been chosen for the project, but Henderson said the anticipated date for the publicly open bid will take place June 30.
The Northwest Garage will be closed completely during the summer in order for the contractors to complete the project quicker and keep everyone out of the work area, Henderson said.
Blouch said the Northwest Garage can hold 648 cars.
Lane Avenue Parking Garage, the Tuttle Park Garage and all of the streets surrounding the Northwest Garage will be kept open for use, Blouch said.
The garage is expected to be open in time for the first home football game on Sept. 3 against the University of Akron.
“We’re not trying to make a disturbance on campus,” Henderson said. “We will make sure to return the garage back to everyone in the fall.”