Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Despite minor weather delays, construction on David Kemp Hall continues more than a week ahead of schedule. The stonework, utilities, roof, and walls are almost completed. Students can look forward to the installation of some of the dorm’s best features in the near future.
Mike Boyd, Swarthmore College Project Manager for Kemp Hall, pointed out to the Gazette numerous signs of the construction’s progress. The walkway directly between Mertz and Alice Paul is currently open in the evenings. Boyd said that once a temporary wall encloses the near side of the building it should be safe to leave the walkway open at all times. The only possible stumbling block could be damage to the walkway from heavy machinery in the final stages of installing the roof. Reopening the path has become a higher priority as New Dorm residents have had to walk through puddles in the sagging temporary walkway.
Kemp Hall should be fit with windows by the end of next week. If it had not rained the past few days the window installation would already be under way. Rain has caused minor delays in the last stages of laying stonework, as the moisture prevents the mortar from setting properly. Fortunately the stonework was already ahead of schedule. Boyd said that otherwise the rain has not caused any delays. This is largely due to how far along construction is on the roof.
Half of Kemp Hall is covered by a vapor barrier. Once the rain stops and the other half is covered, the building will be air-tight enough to permit the installation of drywall. The building will also be heated by a temporary heating system at that time. The roof insulation is the pink material covered with white plastic currently being stored on site in the field. It should be completely installed in a few weeks.
The roof of Kemp Hall, pending the acquisition of an additional grant, will sport not one but three sections of green roof. Unlike the green roof of New Dorm, one of these sections will be accessible from a door as opposed to a ladder. Boyd estimates the cost of green roofing as between four and six dollars per square foot, and seemed confident that it would be installed.
The interior features of the building are ahead of schedule as well. Electricity has been wired up to the third floor and water the second. Two of the staircases are finished. The grand staircase, like that featured in New Dorm, will go in late in the construction. Check back over the coming months for further updates on the construction of Kemp Hall from the Daily Gazette.