Constant Construction Plagued my Undergraduate Experience
When I was a freshman, I walked from my dorm on Indian Quad to campus, and every day, I was greeted to a nice, big, mound of dirt. My neighbors that lived in Oneida Hall across from me would often complain about the sounds of drills in the morning that would often wake them up. My sophomore and junior year, I was greeted to a vacant campus center, where half the walls were made of plaster. And on my walk back to Freedom Quad, I was greeted to a giant metal frame where the Campus Center now stands. Now, in my senior year, there’s a handful of different construction projects in progress on campus. At least I graduate in May.
My biggest problem with these various construction projects is that they’re eye sores. On a day with nice weather, they’re a bit less noticeable, but during the days where it’s snowing and raining (approximately ¾ of the time we’re here for classes), it accentuates an often depressing atmosphere. I feel bad for tour guides who probably have to awkwardly explain to touring high school students that the construction is “just something you deal with.”
It’s also irritating to know that these fixtures are something that I don’t get to reap the benefits of for long. Like I mentioned, the full usage of the Campus Center was defunct for the better part of two years, and now, it’s great to have during my senior year, but that’s all I get to enjoy it for. Future students will get to reap such benefits for all four years, while I was left navigating a campus that echoed with the chorus of drills, and the sight of tents that blocked off views of what was being done.
With the new constructions, it’s somewhat inconvenient for some students’ routes to get to class. For example, I live on Empire Commons. As an English major, four out of my five classes this semester are in the Humanities building, and the entrance that I usually use to get into the building is blocked off. As a result, I have to walk to the other side of the building to get in. This is also the case with a few other buildings on campus, as well as some of the entrances to the lecture centers by the library. Granted, these projects only disrupt commutes by a few minutes, but if you’re ever in a situation where you’re running late, those few minutes can make a world of difference.
The one positive aspect of these construction projects is the fact that, for the most part, students don’t really have to pay for them. The biggest example here is the Campus Center project, which cost about $58 million, and was paid for by funds from the state. If these costs were imposed onto University at Albany students, I can guarantee you that it wouldn’t have gone that smoothly.
I appreciate the fact that UAlbany is actively looking to improve their campus, but putting all these projects in succession of one another may be a bit too much. It wasn’t something that got on my nerves too much in the first half of my undergraduate studies, but in the latter half, it’s begun to irritate me. My best solution to this issue is to perhaps space out the projects a bit more, and let students enjoy the campus without being plastered by construction projects which are constant eye sores. I’ll always have pleasant and positive memories of my time here at UAlbany, but the constant construction projects will be something that I won’t fondly remember.