New Construction An Unnecessary Nightmare

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I wish the planners for the new construction on campus were as good at layout as they are good at being sneaky.

Not a single student I’ve spoken with had any idea that, as soon as traffic let up through the new science building, nearly the entirety of campus would quickly thereafter be blocked off.

I’m not even just talking about the lots. The other day, I stepped out one door of the Student Center to realize there was a fence sitting on the sidewalk. Why? Who knows. There doesn’t seem to be a very good reason for blocking off both the entrances and the exits to every stairwell. This means I was trapped in the construction zone, and I had to climb over four fences, over a railing, and into a window sill, in order to escape. In my new pair of red PF Flyers, too.

These fences are not only unnecessary, and were a huge waste of my time, but they are also a legitimate obstacle for students and faculty. A couple of weeks ago, a former custodian in the Student Center told me the dumpster he usually uses is now blocked off, and he had to take an extra twenty minutes to walk all the trash in the building to the nearest dumpster: it had been moved, of all places, to the LA building parking lot.

Professors and students have a hard enough time getting to class — and this is not to mention what happens in the event of an actual emergency. The doors may say “Emergency Exit Only,” but the majority of them are chained together: in the event of a fire, everyone on campus is in danger of more than just the fire because there are no legitimately safe and easy exits, especially for anyone with a physical handicap.

That the planners for the construction didn’t seem to plan for these inconveniences is not what really bothers me. What really bothers me is, as I said, how sneaky it was.

If you are reading this article and you are not a member of UVUSA, I have a pretty good hunch you weren’t there for the groundbreaking for the new student center. (I have a pretty good hunch you weren’t there for the groundbreaking for the new science building, either.) This should strike you as a bit odd, since it is the “student” center, after all. It’s also perfectly fair to ask why you should care.

All this construction has appeared rather suddenly, and without much warning. My friends who are not attending summer classes had no idea there would be so much construction, and are pretty curious what’s going to happen when they return to campus in August. No notifications have been sent out. No one knows how long this will take. No one I’ve talked to is too happy about feeling forced to use the new hallway between LA and PS.

And no one really seems to understand why the parking structure is what’s going next to the current student center, while the future student center is going near LA.

Am I really the only one who has noticed that students have very little input or awareness about any of this? Am I the only one who feels pretty annoyed with it all? I certainly have a right to, I think — I’m a student, and these new buildings are supposed to benefit me. There is no reason at all to keep me or the rest of us in the dark about the construction.

However, perhaps most students have come to accept the normalcy of re-direction signs and closed off lots, because I don’t see many besides myself expressing frustration or raising a fuss.

Wolverines, there is no reason to accept the chaos as normal. We have a right to the fullest explanation campus leadership can provide, and we even have a right to be angry that little to nothing by way of explanation has been provided to us.

Last summer, it was one hallway. This summer, it’s half the campus. Where will the door chains, construction signs, and the ridiculous fencing suddenly sneak up next year?