Summer construction projects carry into fall semester

Published by adviser, Author: Kevin Squires - Assistant News Editor, Date: September 26, 2013
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Four weeks into the semester, Slippery Rock University students are now able to fully utilize Bailey Library’s renovated research services center. Featuring serpentine seating areas, a new media center, eight new quick print stations, two enclosed research rooms, 70 new computer workstations and four printers, the space began undergoing modifications at the end of last spring. President Norton formally dedicated the space as completed during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.

Jenna Molczan, 20, a junior exercise science major, noted that the space didn’t seem very efficient at the beginning of the semester, citing the ongoing construction taking place and lack of computers and printers.

“I’m glad the construction is finally done. It was very frustrating to come in and need to get work done only to find out that there were no computers free to get my work done. I like the new layout and how it’s more of like an open concept,” she said.

Although this project has come to completion, there are still many more construction projects taking place around campus.

“I think [the construction] makes everything really inconvenient. It seems like they start all these projects but they never really finish any of them. I think they should finish one project before starting a new one. It just makes our campus seem really messy,” Molczan said.

Herbert Carlson, Assistant Vice President for Construction Design and Management, described in detail some of the projects currently going on at Slippery Rock, including some never finalized components of the Robert M. Smith Student Center.

“The Student Center, although it’s been open for over a year, it still has things that need to be done,” he said, citing the parking area construction taking place.

Other incidents of construction that students may have noticed include the updating of steam pipes between upper and lower campus near the McLachlan Health Center, various locations of repaving the cement for sidewalks, and the major work occurring in front of the Old University Union. Miller Auditorium is also closed for the asbestos hazard and for the expected renovations, now anticipated for the end of next spring.

This large influx of construction throughout Slippery Rock has left some students feeling very discontent.

“I don’t think we need that many sidewalks. It seems like it’s a waste of money. It seems like they’re doing construction just to do it,” Molczan said.

Theresa Cline, 18, a freshmen exploratory major, felt that the construction does have its need, but it still makes for an unpleasant experience for students.

“I feel like I’m sure there’s still a good reason as to why it’s still going on or why it has to be done right now but overall it just deters from the campus which is otherwise very nice looking,” Cline said, “It makes it feel like a work in progress rather than a complete thing.”

Michael May, director of undergraduate recruiting and admissions, explained how he feels the prospective students may have a much more positive spin than current students on the conditions of the campus, but admitted that the barriers on a tour can be a problem.

“We don’t want prospective students and their families to run into any barriers as they’re traversing across campus but I think the message is ‘Pardon our mess we’re building a better student experience.’” May said.

This “better student experience” is something that May described as very important. “People want to know that the facilities here, the experience here, really reflects the value,” he said, adding, “from my perspective, it’s a huge positive. We’re constantly improving the campus and we’re student centered so obviously we want the best facilities for students we can.”

While in the long run, the renovations to Slippery Rock may be in the best interest of the students, May admitted that it is something he wished could be avoided. He felt prospective students would be understanding of the improvements.

“You’d love to have a beautiful campus to show at all times, but I think most folks understand that this is kind of the necessary upkeep and improvement taking place,” May also stated that most Universities try to complete their construction during the summer.

Carlson explained that while the University does usually try to get their construction finished during the summer as well, some projects take longer than just the summer and sometimes unexpected delays can occur.

These delays could be caused by a number of potential problems that can arise, extending the length required to complete a project or to begin it in the first place. However, Carlson predicted an end coming soon for the fall semester on the outdoor construction projects present throughout the campus.

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