Hopkins station is in upbeat style


The six sets of escalators are in place. So are most of the floor tiles, the overhead fluorescent lights, the granite walls and the stainless steel railings.

Seventy feet below Broadway in East Baltimore, the future Johns Hopkins Hospital Metro Station is taking shape.

At the invitation of the Mass Transit Administration, the Intrepid Commuter recently got a peek at the station that isn't scheduled to open for two years.

Carol Ruppersberger of DKP, the company that has overseen the station's construction by George Hyman Construction Co. of Bethesda, says the work is 90 percent complete.

In scale, the cavernous station is similar to Charles Center, but the look is quite different, more upbeat and contemporary. The architectural theme for the underground facility is light, says Ms. Ruppersberger, and that is the first thing future subway riders will notice.

Curving walls of back-lighted block glass wrap around the station like scenery in some futuristic movie set. A pyramid-shaped skylight yet to be built will bring sunlight into the depths. Both are firsts for Metro stations.

An artist's mural on the walls of the station's platform features a collage of images not just of commuting, but of contemporary urban life. Elevators are wrapped in frosted glass enclosures.

"The difference between our other stations and this one are a reflection of today's tastes and styles [from those 10 years ago]," says John A. Agro Jr., the MTA's acting administrator. "It reflects the concept today of using natural light."

Make no mistake, this has been an immense undertaking. Little of what goes on in and around the 860-foot-long, 55-foot-wide station positioned almost directly under Broadway along the Hopkins campus has been discernible to the public since construction began in May 1990.

A shopping list of materials for the $42.5 million project: 65,000 floor and ceiling tiles, 11,000 panels of granite, 6.7 million pounds of reinforcing steel rods, 34,100 cubic yards of concrete, and 6,000 square feet of glass block.

The south entrance is located between the Billings Administration Building and the new outpatient center. An underground passageway will allow subway riders to enter either building without stepping outside.

Greenhouse-like metal and glass structures protect both the south entrance and the north entrance, which is on the other side of Monument Street.

Work on the station is expected to be finished in October, and MTA officials hope to provide opportunities to see the station long before the 1.5-mile Metro extension from Charles Center to Hopkins is opened in the summer of 1995.

There was talk some months ago about opening the system early by running trains from Charles Center to Hopkins, but not stopping at Shot Tower Station, which is little more than a hole in the ground at the moment. But MTA officials have determined that that would be unfeasible, perhaps even a risk to workers at Shot Tower.

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