Summer sees increase in renovations, noise

By Julie Balise

Amid pressures of classes and co-ops, students on campus in the summer have yet another thing to contend with: the noise of drilling.

There are currently 15 construction projects underway on campus, creating a noisy environment for students, staff and faculty, said Stan Duci, director of customer service for Facilities. This number is not significantly different from previous years, all of which experienced large renovations during summer months, Duci said.

Last summer’s renovation of Smith Hall, took place on the outer edges of campus in buildings that were not open to students. Several of the current projects are in more central locations, like Forsyth Street, unlike some of last year’s projects

‘We’ve got so much going on in the core of the campus now,’ Duci said. ‘The Forsyth building, Dockser Hall – you can’t help but see that every day.’

Renovation and maintenance of residence halls takes place annually, Duci said. Most emphasis is put on freshman halls, he said, but upperclassmen halls also receive summer renovation: the only exception is West Village H, which has never closed since its opening in 2004, he said.

He said the creation of new faculty offices across campus is consistent with the Academic Investment Plan, which seeks to increase hiring. Other renovations within academic buildings, like the research labs in Forsyth Building, meet the university’s needs to remain competitive, Duci said.

Duci said the summer semesters often see more construction than the fall or spring semesters, with most projects concluding before Labor Day weekend. Much of the construction takes place during the summer months because there are fewer students on campus, he said.

‘The emphasis is on trying to do as much as we can when the population is the lowest so we can be the least distracting,’ he said. ‘And of course, we look forward to the good weather because the good weather allows us to do some of the outside jobs.’ Academic buildings currently under construction include Snell Library, Ryder Hall, Dockser Hall and the Forsyth Building. Ryder will get 12 new classrooms, and research labs are being constructed in Dana Hall and the Forsyth Building. An EdTech center and new fire alarm systems are being installed in Snell Library, and the School of Law in Dockser Hall is experiencing remodeling, Duci said.

All these projects will be completed for the upcoming fall semester, Duci said.

Duci said Facilities staff members pull classroom schedules and work closely with the registrar’s department to create a schedule that will not be disruptive. This often means stopping construction during finals week and waiting until at least 9 a.m. to begin work in residence halls. He said those working on the projects are ‘very sensitive to the needs of the students.’

‘We try to work out the best schedule that’s possible given the time frame,’ he said. ‘Unfortunately, a lot of what we have to get done has to get done for fall opening, not just on the residential side but on the academic side as well. We’ve got a lot of balls that we’re juggling up in the air.’

Still, some said they are distracted by the renovations.

‘The first day of class, they were just pulling something in the ceiling. It made a grinding noise,’ said Jenna Jones, a middler international affairs major, who said she was attending class in the Forsyth building when she heard the noise. ‘It’s gotten a little better since that day.’

While the grinding has subsided, Jones said there’s another distraction.

‘It’s not only that, but you can hear them all talking to each other,’ she said.

Senior English major Caitlyn Keckeissen said a classroom relocation could alleviate the problem.

‘They’ve got to have lots of other classrooms,’ she said.

The scheduling office of the registrar, which is responsible for classroom allocation, could not be reached for comment.

Duci said the construction is being done to maintain and improve the campus as a whole.

‘We’re not doing this just to disturb somebody,’ he said. ‘This is being done for a purpose. It may not be your specific purpose, but it may be your neighbor’s purpose. Overall, we want to create a more comfortable environment for the students.’ ‘

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