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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Obtrusive construction inconveniences students

Published: August 31, 2007
Section: Opinions

Im a big fan of new things. Theyre typically in better shape than old things and often a good deal shinier. Unfortunately, when it comes to renovations and new capital projects at Brandeis, I feel like more of a victim than a beneficiary.

The method of construction here leaves a good deal of the campus in shambles at any given time. My first semester at Brandeis, I played Frisbee nearly every night in Chapels field. Soon, a dirt mound grew on one side of it. Then a fence grew too. Eventually, our fair field was so diminished in size that Frisbee had to end. Its being leveled! we were told. So we waitedfor a year and a half. Finally, the field is reopened! Regrettably, in the process, about 40% of my time at Brandeis was spent with a screwed up Chapels Field. For the record, I could have flattened it quicker with a trowel.

Last year, when I chose to live in East, one of the perks was parking right out back. Upon my arrival, I learned parking was about a half mile out in J lot. Because of a renovation of the science complex parking lot, East Lot was now parking for science faculty and staff. Second semester there was a 35-spot lottery for sophomores but those days are gone this year its for employees once again. The exercise will do you well, East residents! For those of you without cars, Im sure negotiating the Escher-esque set of fences around the science complex will burn off those calories for you.

Ridgewood got blown up at a very inconvenient time for an advancing sophomore like myself. The lottery earned its name last year. Students were so apprehensive about the living situation, that the numbers extended farther than they ever had before people chose to live off campus rather than face the odds. Oh, and enjoy the sounds of construction for the next quarter of your time at Brandeis, Ziv and Village residents.

Pumping up Brandeis in the ranks and redoing the campus is terrific, but at what cost? It is vital to keep our campus viable, but it is more important to do it in a manner that does not diminish the quality of our time here. The renovating of midyear dorms is a great example of construction done right. A single freshman dorm is shut down first semester each year to be renovated, and then a midyear class moves in no one suffers by this method.

In the case of Ridgewood, we should have waited for a new dorm to be completed before ripping down the old one. You keep sending my parents letters about how the endowment has grown so much in the last year why not spend a little extra on projects to make sure the students are taken care of? Why not find a company that can flatten a field in less than two years? Why not have a viable shuttle service for staff to park in J-lot during the day, so Sophomores dont have to walk to J-lot alone at three AM and get mugged? I love new things, but no campus should be consistently besieged by obtrusive construction.