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South Towers Wall Repairs

By James Hoyle
On October 5, 2015

Workers continue to make strides rebuilding the sidewalk and surrounding area. 
Photo by James Hoyle

Over the past week, residents of Concord University’s North and South Towers have been disturbed by the sounds of cutting, drilling, and heavy lifting. A work crew has been clearing away the rubble of the wall outside of South Tower since the beginning of the semester. With a temporary railing in place, and subsequently removed, and with bulldozers bringing in sod, some were beginning to wonder how much longer it would take to repair the wall, considering that this project, according to the emails sent, was supposed to have been completed by early September. According to Vice President and Associate Dean of Students Rick Dillon, there were in fact two projects going on around South Tower and the whole confusion stems from a misunderstanding. 

“I need to take the lion’s share of the blame for that,” he said, “Really we’re talking about a two-separate process repair scenario. When walking down, we needed to do an immediate evacuation of the brick, but we also had to do an immediate temporary railing. So the first email I sent out dealt only with removing the wall and a temporary railing. That project was completed in two days, like the email said. Now later, I sent out another email, which I just found out today [September 29] that you did not get, and by you I mean the student population. The Faculty and Staff list has it on there, but that was a mistake on my part.” 

The email in question, sent to students directly after this interview took place, states that starting September 21 at 8:00 AM, the grounds and sidewalk around South Towers will be demolished and then upgraded, and that the road in front of South Tower will be blocked off for two weeks as a safety precaution, and that no through traffic will occur on that road until this renovation is complete. 

“We discovered that when we were taking the wall down and putting up the temporary railing that [the wall that] had been put in before I had this job, slanted toward the building,” Dillon explained. 

He said that while the heavy winter wasn’t the only major factor in the wall’s eventual collapse, it helped and hastened the process. “It was more than an aesthetic piece,” he said, “It was a safety wall because the distance to the sidewalk to the ground was too high. It would have to have a railing. Instead of a railing in 1969, they put up a red brick wall. At any rate, it made that area safe.  Even after the wall was gone, it would mean that all the water from the sidewalk would flow down to the building. We don’t want to enhance water going to the base of the building in any way. So we realized that we’d have to replace the sidewalk to make it flat, or if anything, if it had a slight tilt to it to take the water away from it, it would have to go into the road. Not the other way. So we had to replace the sidewalk.”

According to Dillon, even with replacing the sidewalk, it still did not eliminate the problem of the sidewalk being too high to the ground. If someone tripped at such a height, according to him, they are liable to be hurt. To that end, rather than replacing the railing, they decided to bring in dirt up to a level closer to the sidewalk, thus avoiding the need to have a railing at all, as well as having it slope away from the building to avoid rain water.

This was the course of action they decided to take. Unfortunately, due to the weather, development of this project has been stalled, though Dillon said that once the rain clears will be completed in ten complete working days, and with the rain being as it has been the past week or so, it has been difficult to get a full working day in. “There is no prevailing wage in the state of West Virginia,” he said, “So there’s no sitting around collecting extra money because you’re getting paid prevailing wage, which is more money than you’d usually get from doing a job. So they’re trying to get the job done as soon as possible.” 

Dillon also stated that funding for this project came through Concord University’s capital fund, which they use for unforeseen situations such as this. In addition, added that this repair is a foreshadowing of what’s to come during the renovation of The Towers. 

“We’re [going to] have cranes. We’re [going to] have bulldozers. We’re [going to] have other equipment on campus all summer this summer, all academic year next year and the summer after that. So this is a really small project compared to what’s coming. It’s gonna look great when it’s done [the Towers project], but students and community members will have to bear with us as we try to get these projects done on time.” 

Those with further questions and comments about the Towers project or the sidewalk project are urged to email Rick Dillon at


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