Cramer Hall, constructed in three phases beginning in 1955, has become a construction zone over the course of the 2018–19 academic year.
According to student reports, the bathrooms on every floor are constantly closed and reopened, and debris from construction is present throughout the building.
According to Project Assistant Amy Wood, Cramer is undergoing a one-year project in which the entire plumbing and air systems are being modernized and upgraded. The building, named after Portland State’s first President John Francis Cramer, has not had an overhaul of internal systems since its completion in 1970, meaning systems like the HVAC are over 50 years old.
Wood, who is overseeing the upgrade, said the work will update all the plumbing and piping systems as well as the electric power. “This will end up providing better airflow throughout the building as well as improved lighting,” she explained.
Regarding the closure of the bathrooms on each level, Wood said all the restrooms in Cramer sit on risers.
“There are two different sets of risers, so each time one of them is being concentrated on, the set of restrooms along that particular riser must be closed for safety reasons. Additionally, both men’s and women’s restrooms along the risers differ from floor to floor, leading to a men’s room being closed on one floor while a women’s is closed on another.”
Some of the restrooms in Cramer are being renovated as well. “None will undergo a complete remodel, but some of them will receive new tiling,” Wood said. The year-long construction has taken an additional toll on the already antiquated floors and walls.
Several students have brought up concerns around the ceiling tiles being removed and some of the restrooms being open during active construction. The project superintendent, Gabe Hostetler, said debris from construction was a “nuisance,” but did not present real danger to anyone in the building.
“[This] comes with the territory of a building being shared with students and faculty along with a construction crew,” Hostetler said.
On potentially placing protective tarp or nets over the area of removed tiles to prevent debris from falling, Hostetler said at this point in the process, it wasn’t “entirely necessary.”
“We’ll be out of your hair soon enough,” Hostetler said. The project and subsequent construction in Cramer is set to reach completion in summer 2019.