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After starting the demolition last April, the project of renovating Sullivant Hall is now ahead of schedule as the school year gets under way. 

Construction crews have been working on both the inside and outside of the building, located on High Street by 15th Avenue, and the favorable weather throughout the summer has helped them to not fall behind.

“All of the demolition work has been done in the spring and summer, and we were lucky,” said Pete Confar, architect with Acock Associates.  “Things went pretty smoothly, and the demolition is a little ahead of schedule.”

With the demolition process nearly complete, crews will begin reconstructing the building “within the next few weeks,” said Confar.

The staircase that was the main entrance to the front of the building facing High Street has been demolished.  Crews have also busted out all the windows to the building, but completely destroying the limestone is something Confar does not want to do, saying that it is a “beautiful building, but we just want to make it more transparent.”

According to Confar, staying ahead of schedule is important because the renovation project has evolved from its original plans, saying “the magnitude of what’s happening has grown.”

“It will be more than just the home of the cartoon library,” said Confar.  “The project is now creating a black box theater for the dance department.  Art education is now going to come to the building, along with the Barnett Center.”

Other improvements to Sullivant Hall will include compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), anticipated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification, and utility cost savings.  An enhanced student and faculty educational experience is also expected for the renovated building.

Crew members are confident that they will reach their goal of having the renovations completed by the fall of 2013.  According to Confarr, the cartoon library should be ready for the start of the 2013 fall semester, but “other things might drift to October or November.”

Confar also said that school starting back up will probably not have a negative impact on the construction since the building is fenced off.  First-year student Lauren Todd agrees that it should not be too big of a deal, but the noise and construction could be distracting for students in other buildings, such as Page Hall.

The project includes renovating 136,000 square feet for art, dance, and library facilities.  The total project budget is $30 million, with $19 million going towards construction, $6 million for labor and $6 million for materials, according to Confar. 

The main addition to Sullivan Hall will be the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, which is currently located in the Wexner Center for the Arts.

“We are just so excited to move into our new home,” said Wendy Pflug, associate curator for collections at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.  “It’s going to quadruple our storage space, which is extremely important, and we’re going to have three dedicated galleries which we find important to our educational and teaching mission.”

Other features that will be showcased at the cartoon library when the renovations are completed include an International Museum of Cartoon Art.  The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum acquired material for the IMCA in 2008, but has not had the room to showcase it.  There will also be a stained glass featuring Billy Ireland’s work.

“I think what we’re really excited about is being able to showcase the art,” said Pfluug.  “We’ll be able to share these visual treasures.” 

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