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​From left, Fathers Shanley and Sicard listen to Mark Rapoza
during a construction tour of the Ruane Center for the Humanities.

​Ruane Center Construction Progress Nears Halfway Point

More than seven months into construction, a cadre of contractors representing multiple trades continues to ready Providence College’s Ruane Center for the Humanities for the September 2013 opening of fall classes.

Construction of what will become the College’s signature academic building is approximately 45 percent complete, according to Mark Rapoza ’90SCE, assistant vice president for capital projects and facilities planning. The major structural features of the three-level, 63,000-square-foot building — the steel, concrete, footings, and roof — are in place, and the current focal points are framing and masonry.

“We’re really not that far from having it 70 percent complete,” said Rapoza. “For instance, right now you may have one contractor working on a drywall. When that person finishes, that allows a series of crafts, like plumbing, plasterers, and electricians, to work on the area at once.”

Presently, 60 to 80 contractors are working up to six days a week at the Ruane construction site, with Rapoza expecting that figure to jump to approximately 110 by mid-February.

Rapoza and John M. Sweeney, senior vice president for finance and business/CFO, recently joined two supervisors from the project’s construction manager, Dimeo Corporation of Providence, Mark Banfield and Tim Carraher, in leading a tour of the center for College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80 and College Executive Vice President/Treasurer Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard, O.P. ’78 & ’82G.

The group toured all three levels, with Banfield and Carraher accentuating the center’s emphasis on numerous large windows that will afford spectacular views of the Main Campus, including Harkins Hall, the Slavin Center, and the Aquinas Quadrangle. Particular points of progress recognized were the lecture halls and large classrooms, the Great Room, the Liberal Arts Honors Program seminar room, and nearly a dozen other seminar rooms.

The Ruane Center for the Humanities, which is being constructed between Phillips Memorial Library and the Albertus Magnus Science Complex, will serve as the home to the Development of Western Civilization Program, the Honors Program, the English and history departments, and the administrative offices of the School of Arts & Sciences.

With a Collegiate Gothic exterior design, the center will be highlighted by a 50-foot-high, illuminated entrance tower on its northwest side.

The center is named in recognition of a leadership gift by Michael A. Ruane ’71, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, and his wife, Elizabeth.

Pointing out the tight construction timetable — groundbreaking was held on June 7, 2012 — Rapoza said a generally mild winter has helped keep work on track. The majority of the building is wrapped, allowing work to continue inside without interruptions.

“We’ve been blessed so far. My hope is that we can continue a dry winter, but we can build this building out of a snow bank if we had to,” said Rapoza.


--Charles C. Joyce

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