It was just what the UVA Facilities Management needed: a little peace and quiet to do some drilling and hammer banging in New Cabell Hall. Just days before Christmas, and with the student holiday exodus complete, the building’s halls filled with the racket of renovation.
Doorways like this one in New Cabell Hall will have new locks when students return, so that they can lock themselves in the classroom—good for both stopping would-be killers and engaging in private "studies."
The holiday break is the perfect time for projects that would otherwise disrupt classes and make the commute between classrooms even more congested. As the University Grounds themselves were student bare, Spike Weeks, contracts manager for Facilities, walks up and down the halls of Cabell, sizing up the improvements being made to the 55-year-old building. New Cabell is due for major renovations if a state bond is approved that would contribute $77.6 million to its renovation.
Over the break, Facilities employees are replacing locks, frames and doors in 33 New Cabell classrooms, finishing the job to change out all locks, which they began this summer. Jay Klingel, director of business management services, says that they were able to change most locks during the summer, but "there were a number of doors that would not accept this type of hardware." Thus, the new doors and frames.
"This is the difficult part," says Weeks, whose graying beard reaches down almost a foot below his chin. He is sporting a Harley-Davidson cap and wire-rim glasses. Standing in front of a classroom doorway, where a new metal door frame has just been installed, he points to the line where the gray metal meets the painted white cinderblock. "They had to cut this block out. Look how clean this is."
With the new locks, students and professors are able to lock themselves in the classroom, something the old lock didn’t permit. This particular feature gained added attention, and importance, after the Tech shootings, where victims weren’t able to lock classroom doors from the inside, leaving entire classes vulnerable to the gunman.
"After the Tech incident," Weeks says, "it came about that we want people to be able to go in and lock the doors."
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