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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sinha responds to construction petition

Published: September 7, 2007
Section: News

After complaints of loud construction work in the former Ridgewood lot, the Student Union and the Department of Capital Projects has begun work to accommodate for nearby residents. Construction of the Ridgewood lot began in July, and is projected to continue until Spring 2009.

Action began after Student Union President Shreeya Sinha 09 discovered the existence of a Facebook group called PUSH BACK RIDGEWOOD CONSTRUCTION TIMES. In the group page, residents of Ziv 130 posted a petition stating that the daily commencement of construction at 6:00 AM is unacceptable. At this point, the construction is in its beginning stages and is already unbearable. As of this printing, 63 students had joined the group, and 29 students had signed the petition.

My roommates and I started this petition a week ago, a few days after the dorms were opened, said Gabriel Cohen 09, one of the organizers of the group. We found it quite disturbing that despite paying a significant amount of money to attend Brandeis, we were living in some pretty unnerving conditions.

Cohens former suitemate, Arthur Attal 09, told the Hoot of his situation living near the construction. I let the window opened to get some cool air and the next morning while I wake up, I find some dust on my bed. I figured that the wind blew the dust from the constructions through my window, said Attal. I got woken up at 7am sharp by the loud noise. After the first couple of nights, I quickly realized that this room would not have been a good environment for me to spend the year.

Village resident Daniel Baronofsky 09 disagreed: I face straight into the construction and the noise doesn't bug me unless I leave my window open. I can't even hear it unless my window is open. However the constantly changing obstacle course that is A-lot is a major pain to navigate.

Adam Richman 09 agreed with Cohen and Attal: I'm all for the later start times. Several times in the past week, I've been woken up by the loud construction and the sound of trucks backing up. I never really seem to hear it during the rest of the day, and I also have been saying to myself cant they start any later?

After finding the group and offering her assistance, Sinha began negotiations with Vice President for Capital Projects Dan Feldman. However, one obstacle was that Brandeis has a commitment to social justice and will only hire workers unions for major capital projects, she explained. Part of that contract states that workers will begin at 7am until 3pm, so regardless of what time you ask a worker to start, they will get paid from work at 7 and compensated overtime for work after 3pm if workers are asked to start work later, but they get paid as through they started work at 7, thats money wasted. Not only that, it will make the construction go even longer.

Because of these constraints, Sinha said, while we cant change the hours of operation, we can ask for heavy construction to begin later in the day and for lighter construction to start early so people can get a fair amount of sleep I live in Ziv, so I understand.

Sinha added that the university sympathizes with us Dan Feldman is working to insure that students are notified of heavy construction and that making it so that what heavy construction can be done later is done later. According to Sinhas estimates, messages have already been disseminated to the unions, and changes in construction schedule will be implemented within the next few weeks.

Still, some students expressed their doubts. While we recognize her efforts to broker a solution, we doubt that there will be much change in the noise level, and we are wondering why the Student Union was not involved in the negotiations of construction times, said Cohen. We hope that Shreeyas solution will yield results, however we will have to wait and see if there will be any real change. In the meantime, we will continue to wake up before the roosters.