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UConn not affected by construction company's problems, say officials

Despite the recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Guy F. Atkinson, a national construction firm and the parent company of the prime contractor for the new chemistry and Stamford campus buildings, neither company nor UConn officials expect the action to delay the two UConn projects.

Workers for Walsh Construction Co., of Trumbull, a subsidiary of Atkinson, have not slowed their pace since the filing was announced. Walsh started work on the Stamford campus in August, 1996 and on the chemistry building one month later.

In Stamford, one of about 20 subcontractors Walsh officials hired for the project left the site recently, but the firm, Jordan Panels of New York, was expected back this week, said Dale Dreyfuss, vice chancellor for business and administration. None of the subcontractors working with Walsh at the chemistry building site has ceased operations.

"Atkinson's bankruptcy is a concern, but it does not lessen our resolve to complete the projects on time and on budget," Chancellor Mark Emmert told the Downstate Initiative's steerring committee on Thursday. Emmert said both UConn projects are fully bonded, and funds are available for the company to pay its subcontractors. He said University officials will review progress on the Stamford job in mid-October for a better determination of when the job will be completed.

Officials expect the downtown Stamford campus to open in time for the spring semester. The new chemistry building is expected to open in late 1998.

Richard Veilleux