Bridge reopens; walkway construction sees progress on UNA campus

Freshman Maddie Palmer crosses the bridge outside LaGrange Hall March 5. The bridge reopened at the end of February after being closed for more than seven months. The closing came as part of the construction of a walkway to the new science building.

UNA is bridging the gap with a new walkway to connect the new science building with the rest of campus.

LaGrange Hall Skyway, the walking bridge connected to LaGrange Hall, reopened three weeks ago after being closed for more than seven months, said Assistant Vice President for Facilities Administration and Planning Michael Gautney.

“It took much longer than we anticipated to open that back up,” he said. “Most of that was due to weather conditions and changing the design of the concrete.”

Gautney said the bridge was closed due to the construction of a walkway connecting the bridge to the new science and technology building.

An 8-foot section of the bridge was demolished so the new walkway could be attached to the bridge, he said.

The walkway will go from the LaGrange Hall Skyway, underneath Pine Street and connect to the new science and technology building.

“I use the bridge every now and then — usually when I’m going to or coming from Towers — since I’d be going around LaGrange anyway,” said sophomore Christina Garrick.

Garrick said the closing of the bridge did not inconvenience to her, although she lives in LaGrange Hall.

“I actually had to use the stairs when it was closed,” she said. “Now that it’s back open, it feels like it’s out of the way since I’ve used the stairs so much.”

Part of the sidewalk coming from the GUC was demolished, and a new sidewalk with a decorative column in the center was constructed, Gautney said.

“The decorative column represents an entry point to the new science building,” he said.

Senior Paige Hauk said the bridge being closed and demolition of the sidewalk was a real inconvenience to her.

“It made it harder for me to get from one end of the campus to the other,” Hauk said.

“I’d have to stop and if I wanted to go up stairs, I had to climb up the stairs or I have to go a different direction because if you’re coming back from the GUC, they cut out half the walkway.”

Hauk said she does not use the bridge.

“It’s there, but I haven’t been able to use if for seven months, so I kind of don’t realize it’s there anymore,” she said.

Gautney said the new walkway will open for student use when the new science and technology building opens.

“We’re anticipating the first of April or shortly thereafter to have a final inspection, and with that final inspection comes a certificate of occupancy issued by the state,” Gautney said. “It allows us to move into the building.”