Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Great Shutdown

This summer at Fuller has been a bit unusual. Of course, summer is always different from the rest of the year. Most of the professors aren't around, and student visits are few and far between. Also, I've already been involved in moving several offices around as new professors come on campus and we must find ways of accommodating everybody with the limited space available. This happens every year, to a greater or lesser extent, and this year has been no exception.

The thing that makes this summer unusual is the construction of the new library next to the existing one. Parking spaces have been blocked (and in some cases deleted entirely!) to make way for construction vehicles or new structures. Areas of campus are no longer accessible to foot traffic, forcing students and staff to devise new routes to get to the parts of campus that are still open. In fact, when there was a 5.4 scale earthquake here in Southern California a few weeks back, I honestly just thought it was an unusually violent surge in construction for a moment. When the new library is finally ready to open (I'm told it will be ready this January), it will be the culmination of almost a full year of construction, to say nothing of the years of planning that came before it.

Next week will begin what is probably going to be the single largest interruption in our regular schedules on campus, as an entire wing of the campus will have its electrical power shut off and the buildings considered off-limits for the rest of the month so that electrical wiring and other work can be done both in our buildings and in the new library. Others on campus have already started referring to this period as "The Great Shutdown," and I think the name is appropriate.

The building I work in, Payton Hall, is among the buildings to be shut down, and we are in the process of arranging to work in other areas of campus for the next two weeks. Needed books and materials are being transferred to our temporary locations. Phone and fax numbers are being forwarded, as well. On top of that, we are also making sure that the many professors who have affected offices on campus are also being taken care of (in many cases, in their absence!). Refrigerators are being defrosted now, so as to avoid large puddles and ruined carpets upon our return. Computers are being removed and/or unplugged from the walls to avoid power surges. Security is being arranged to patrol the buildings while the staff is kept away. It's a pretty major undertaking, and it all has to be done by the end of the day on Friday. One way or another, we'll be ready.

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