By Jaci Schneider, Copy Editor
Sophomore women began moving into Barret Hall Friday after much suspense about whether their new home would be ready for occupation.
Although the inside of the building had been finished for more than two weeks, heavy rainfall caused concern because it stalled workers from pouring concrete, a task that had to be finished before the city would approve the building for occupancy, said Howard Deerman, superintendent of the Barret Hall project.
“We should have been through last Friday,” Deerman said. “But the rain killed us on that.”
Rain also kept workers from laying brick on schedule last spring, Deerman said.
In the end, the rain only delayed the project by one week because of rain days built into the schedule. Women who had planned to move into the hall before Welcome Week stayed in Sikes Hall or with their friends for the week, said Dr. Mimi Barnard, director of Residence Life Education and Housing.
Although the hall was completed before the beginning of classes, Barnard was prepared for the chance that it wouldn’t. She sent e-mails to the 162 residents, letting them know that the chance existed they would not be able to move until after classes began. She asked them to stay at home if they lived in Abilene, find friends to stay with or let her know if they would need somewhere else to stay. Barnard also sent e-mails to faculty on campus, asking them to consider letting women from Barret stay in their homes.
Temporary housing was unnecessary thanks to the long hours put in by the contracting company.
Deerman said he worked at least 70 hours a week, and he, along with many of the crew members, worked seven days a week for the past three months.
However, he said seeing the finished building is worth the hard work.
For the past two weeks crews have been pouring concrete for sidewalks, striping the parking lot, installing hand rails and finishing the “punch list,” which is all the little jobs that need to be done before the job is officially finished—tasks like fixing leaky faucets, repairing scraped walls and cleaning everything.
“There’s a lot of little things that people don’t see,” Deerman said. “Finishing up is the hard part.”
The inside of the building—other than the coffee shop, study and residence director’s office, which will be finished later in the semester—has been compete for several weeks. The rooms contain new furniture made of cherry wood and matte black steel.
“It’s all absolutely beautiful,” Barnard said. “It’s even better than I thought it would be.”
Several sophomore women agreed as they toured the building before moving in, uttering phrases such as: “This is awesome,” and “I can’t wait to move in.”
Rather than rooms lining a hallway, four rooms in Barret Hall cluster around one common room, with each “pod” having its own door to the outside.
“Y’all got a good building,” said Johnny Neoms, a foreman on the project. “It’s really nice.”