Construction takes a toll on campus convenience
Clank. Bang. Boom.
It's hard to ignore the construction that is taking place all around the campus. Bobby Dodd stadium, the FE courtyard on East Campus, and Caldwell Residence Hall on West are under renovation for improvements. Earlier in the semester, construction often reduced traffic to one lane as cars squeezed by sites at the baseball stadium and the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences building near Atlantic Street.
And, to confirm that Tech is putting up new buildings like construction is going out of style, work has started on the long-planned SAC II. With so many projects underway, students have begun to complain about the inconvenience.
Many of the issues depend on location. Rachel Rose lives relatively undisturbed in Montag. "It's probably a lot worse on East Campus, but [construction] has never really [been] an inconvenience for me. I never hear it on West," she said.
However, just a block down the street, Marlon Mooney, a Folk resident, said of the Caldwell renovation, "Not only does the construction interfere with my sleep, but it's also caused the hot water to be unavailable a few times. And for what we pay for housing, that's unacceptable."
Indeed, sleep loss is probably the biggest complaint, especially for those that live near construction sites.
Although Marlon admits that construction is "hardly the most extreme of problems" at a school where sleep is at a premium, the loud construction makes life that much harder. "I would come back to my room after classes, wanting to take a quick nap, but the noise of the drills and jackhammers made it really hard to fall asleep," said Nnenna Okeke, who lives on the basement floor of Harrison.
The construction of a new patio outside Harrison took place literally right outside her window.
Most of East Campus is affected by the construction in some way or another, either by the FE courtyard or the stadium.
"That robotic jackhammer they had for a while over there was awesome. ..Though not quite so awesome when they started at some God-forsaken hour, like ten or eleven in the morning," said Harris resident Andy Holt with a hint of sarcasm.
Power outages pose another pesky problem for dorm residents. During one weekend power outage, students on East Campus had to find somewhere else to go if they needed electricity or computer access during an outage. Like many students, Holt trekked across campus.
"I went over to West, but since it takes fifteen minutes to walk there, I only spent about ten minutes there before I came back because I heard the power was on again. It just seemed like a lot of hype."
Even the threat of a power outage can be a nuisance. Harrison residents were informed by their hall council newsletter that construction would cause power to be out the Thursday before Spring Break from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
In preparation for the outage, Onisha Laurence turned off her computer.
"I had my computer turned off, and I was in bed reading, having resigned myself to not getting any work done while the power was out," said Laurence.
The power outage never happened, but nevertheless, "I could have been doing homework in the hour or so that I was expecting the power to go off. And plus," Laurence added with a sheepish grin, "When I finally realized that there wasn't going to be a power outage, it was so hard to motivate myself to get back to work."
Judy Kuo, another Harrison resident, put a positive spin on the construction. "It's really good to see Tech building new things to improve the campus." However, she admitted to some inconvenience. "On the other hand, its annoying that just so much construction is going on all at one time."
Also, regarding the new patio outside of Harrison, Kuo is doubtful of its purpose. "It's so... unimpressive. It just looks like they put down a bunch of concrete. Maybe it's not quite finished yet, but I don't see the point of building it; I don't really use it the way it is now."
Tina Denq voiced similar doubts regarding a different East Campus construction project. "I have no clue what they're doing at the stadium. It's just a very distracting form of progress," she said.
Logistical inconveniences and distractions have been an ongoing effect of the construction projects.
Some FE students felt that the FE courtyard-surrounded by dorms-provided a little isolation from the cityscape as one of the few green spots on East Campus. During the Harrison patio construction project, however, the courtyard was sectioned off and filled with concrete blocks, bulldozers, and mounds of dirt. Besides the obvious inconveniences of having a dorm exit blocked off (for Harrison residents), or having to walk an extra couple of feet around the courtyard instead of across it-some Harrison residents felt the project ruined the courtyard's atmosphere.
For those who wish that Tech had more trees and picturesque places to study, the clanking of machinery and the mud filtering onto the streets is an ugly reminder of campus' urban location.
Stacy Farah, who lives in Montag, joked, "Today I was trying to walk out of the student center and in the middle of my usual path, BAM, they put one of those railing things. As if I don't trip enough."
But then she says, as an afterthought, "But, you know, I miss walking on sidewalks sometimes."