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FSU Adds New Center for Communication, IT

Tue January 15, 2013 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

At Frostburg State University (FSU) in Frostburg, Md., a new Center for Communication and Information Technology (CCIT) is being built to provide students with modern facilities to learn in the university’s most technology-driven disciplines.

CCIT will house the academic departments of mass communication, computer science and mathematics, and the graphic design program of the department of visual arts. FSU’s public radio station, WFWM, and its cable television station, FSU-TV3, will have studios in the building, and it also will house the support services offered by Academic Computing and Instructional Technologies. Among the building’s features are a “green” roof planted with vegetation designed to reduce FSU’s carbon footprint, technologically advanced video and audio studios, and a multi-media learning center featuring a planetarium.

The $50 million project began on Jan. 24, 2012, and is on track for substantial completion by Jan. 23, 2014. The construction manager is Gilbane Inc., which is based in Providence, R.I. The project executive is Gary Orton, and the senior project manager is Chris Browning.

Funding is provided by the state of Maryland Board of Public Works and administered by the University of Maryland Capital Projects in College Park, Md.

The project included the abatement and demolition of Tawes Hall, a building in the middle of the FSU campus, to make room for the new 127,000 sq.-ft. CCIT. The new building will house the university’s mass communication, computer science and math departments, television and radio stations, a distance learning center, and a new planetarium.

According to Browning, the biggest challenge with this particular project has been “working with an active college campus and incorporating campus activities and student safety into the planning and scheduling of work.”

Another challenge was the building footprint.

“The building site sits above two abandoned coal mines,” Browning said. “To stabilize the site, mine grouting was performed to fill the voids immediately under the new building footprint.”

He noted that one thing that is unique is that the project seeks to attain LEED Gold certification and will include a green roof.

“The building will contain television and radio studios,” he said. “The building will have a roof top observatory with a telescope that can record celestial events through computer programs and also transmit the images directly to the planetarium for viewing by a larger live audience.”

Major subcontractors for the project are Carl Belt Inc., Cumberland, Md., for ADA ramps and stairs; Environmental & Demolition Services, Baltimore, Md., for abatement and demolition; Braddock Construction LLC, Frostburg, Md., for sitework, improvements, and concrete; Gill-Simpson Inc., Cumberland, Md., for electrical; R.H. Lapp & Sons Inc., Cumberland, for mechanical and controls; VSC Fire and Security, Jessup, Md., for sprinkler work; Sippel Company Inc., Ambridge, Pa., for structural steel; Caretti Inc., Woodbine, Md., for masonry; Lorton Stone LLC, Springfield, Va., for natural stone; McKinney Drilling Company, Winfield, W.Va., for caissons; and Hercules Contracting Ltd., Edgewater, Md., for GWB partitions and ceilings, and many others.

Frostburg State University is located in the Appalachian Highlands of western Maryland (elevation 2,000 ft.). The main campus covers 260 acres within the town limits of Frostburg, which has a population of 7,500. The university offers academic programs in the sciences, education, business, the arts, and humanities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

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