As part of the Southwest Quadrangle Project, underground blasting of the construction site will begin later this month. The purpose of the blasting is to fragment and dislodge underground rock formations.

According to Carl Mayfield, project executive for the Southwest Quadrangle Project, each 30-second blast will consist of a series of five to six detonations that will take place daily between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The daily blasts are likely to continue for two to four months.

Although the detonations will occur underground, students may hear a dull blast and feel slight vibrations, according to the university Web site. “The university community will experience minimal disruption from this phase of excavation,” the Web site said.

“The sound of an airplane is a good comparison,” ayfield said, regarding the noise students can expect to hear. “If the noise of an airplane isn’t a nuisance to you, the blasts won’t be,” he said.

The underground blasting operation will be managed and supervised by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, Clark Construction, the GU Department of Public Safety and the GU Office of Safety and Environmental Management. According to Director of Housing Bob Robinson, the university’s planned precautionary measures, which follow strict MPD guidelines, will ensure the utmost level of safety.

“The explosive materials will be escorted by the etropolitan Police Department to campus every morning,” Robinson said. MPD officers will then remain in the construction site throughout detonation preparation.

Five minutes prior to the blast a radio warning will be sent to DPS officers maintaining the safety perimeter. According to Robinson, this perimeter could extend to as high as parking Lot T.

“All vehicular and pedestrian traffic will be blocked five minutes before the explosion,” Robinson said. In order to regulate vibrations during the actual detonations, monitors will be used to measure the shock waves of each blast. The devices will be installed in nearby buildings including Harbin Hall, New South, Village C and McDonough Gymnasium.

Immediately following detonation, MPD officers will once again escort the explosives off campus. “By 2:30 p.m. the materials have to leave in order to avoid traffic,” Robinson said. “No explosive materials will remain on campus overnight.”

Students living in the area immediately around the blasting had mixed feelings about the noise.

“I think that doing the blasts at this time of year is better than doing during midterms or finals,” said Deanna Hartley (NUR ’04), who lives in Harbin Hall.

“I feel that the sound from construction can be annoying, but on the other hand, if the school needs the new housing it’s not that much of a nuisance,” Marissa Hilliard (COL ’04) of Village C West said.

“If the blasting is going to be only 30 seconds long it’s going to be a lot better than the pile driving that was going on right outside my window all day,” said Thomas atella (NUR ’04) whose Village C West window overlooks the construction site.

The underground explosion operation is just one phase in the Southwest Quadrangle Project. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in fall 2003, includes the construction of a new residence hall that will provide accommodation for approximately 780 second-year students, as well as a new dining facility capable of serving 1200 people. A four-level underground parking garage for 815 vehicles and a new Jesuit Community Residence will also be built.

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