Old cracked tile replaced
Facilities management received a $100,000 budget to renovate areas of the Union to make them more attractive, including the Union’s east entrance summer project, Associate Director of Facilities Management Warren Riefner said.
Towson’s Landscaping Services used the budget to replace the tiles on the east side of the Union, expand the fountain into a koi pond and add a new sitting area.
Out of their budget, Riefner estimates that $20,000 was used to repave the new bluestone tiles and for additional construction.
The previous tile patio was created last fall following the construction of the steam and cooling lines between the Union and Smith Hall.
But after the spring 2013 semester, there were noticeable problems with the tiles. Landscaping Services Manager Paul Thomas said they were not even, were shifting and were not heavy enough to handle the student traffic.
Riefner was unable to provide how much the old patio tiles cost.
“With these new tiles we wanted them to be bigger and better than the previous ones,” Thomas said.
The new bluestone tiles are certified by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and have been slip tested for satisfaction.
According to Thomas, a group of managers from several University buildings and then-director of auxiliary services, Joe Oster made the plan to renovate the east side of the Union and funded the construction of the original patio.
Thomas said the renovation of the entrance took roughly a month to complete.
Sophomore Cydney Elkin said that she noticed how different the new tiles are compared to the previous ones.
“The tiles make [the entrance] look brighter and newer,” she said. “Whenever it rained, the old ones made the entrance seem very dark and depressing.”
In addition, landscaping services also added a new sitting area on the patio with oak-log benches.
“We had these logs so we split them in half, cleaned them and turned them into benches,” Thomas said.
Landscaping services expanded the previous fountain’s size to make room for the koi fish and added sitting areas around the new koi pond. For scenery, various plants were added to the koi pond as well as a small waterfall for ambience.
Riefner said the remodeling of the fountain costed an estimated $20,000 from the budget, in addition to the cost to repave the Union patio.
Sophomore Aviva Match said the new features make the area more attractive.
“It makes it more of a destination than something you just pass through,” she said.
Riefner, Thomas and members of the landscaping services department did all the planning, designing and implementation of the renovation.
“We didn’t hire any architects, surveyors, engineers or anything like that,” Riefner said. “By keeping it all in-house we were able to keep the money down substantially.”
Students can also expect to see new custom-made furniture from Victor Stanley on the patio as part of the renovation soon.
Thomas said the renovations are for the students’ enjoyment and hopes they take advantage of them.
“All of this really worked out nicely,” Thomas said. “Projects like these really give the people who work here a chance to do what they love to do.”