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When bricks fly: Crews work to replace falling bricks on Dunn Center

August 26, 2003

If you've visited the Dunn Center, you've no doubt noticed the brickless exterior walls and massive hydraulic scaffolding surrounding them. An effort is underway to replace all the brick on the Marion Street and Stadium Street sides of the building.
August 26, 2003

If you've visited the Dunn Center, you've no doubt noticed the brickless exterior walls and massive hydraulic scaffolding surrounding them. An effort is underway to replace all the brick on the Marion Street and Stadium Street sides of the building.

Aesthetics aren't the force behind the rebricking, says Ben Pratt, director of physical plant. "It's a safety hazard. During the initial construction, the brick wasn't properly attached," he says. As a result, bricks on the 29-year-old structure were randomly losing their grip on their block-wall base and falling to the sidewalks below.

The problem isn't new. The Tennessee Board of Regents authorized repair of two sides of the Dunn Center five years ago. Pratt, who arrived on campus three years ago, requested funds for replacement of bricks on the remaining sides earlier this year.

He also asked for and received approval to replace exterior doors and hardware, which he says were "pretty antiquated," and to correct leaks in the tunnel area on the Armory side of the building.

As is common with such projects, in repairing leaks, workers found other problems. In this case, asbestos. While solid asbestos isn't a safety issueit's the airborne stuff that causes problemsit isn't desirable either. "We've hired a company to remove it before continuing to waterproof joints in the tunnel," Pratt says.

All work should be completed by mid-October. With darker bricks that better match those on the University Center, plus attractive new pre-cast concrete embellishments, the building's exterior not only will be hazard-free, it will be much more attractive, he adds.