With ongoing construction to the University Center and Boland Hall, students discussed their opinions on the effects it has on their everyday lives.
Construction of Boland Hall started in fall 2021, it has been a constant in the lives of new student residents since they first arrived at the University. Renovations to the south wing of the dorm were announced early in 2021, with the intent to modernize the housing and lobby sections of the building.
Boland resident Jonathan Heyer, a freshman criminology major, said that the constant construction sounds sometimes distracted him from getting schoolwork done in his room.
“It really is a bit much sometimes,” Heyer said. “At times it gets so loud that you just have to leave your room for a little bit.”
Olivia Ransbottom, a junior political science major, had a similar complaint. Ransbottom, a resident assistant in the building, has a window that overlooks similar construction on the University Center. She said she has been woken up some mornings by the sounds of work being done.
“I’ll just be listening to jackhammering and lots of trucks,” Ransbottom said. “I usually get woken up before my alarm even goes off, sometime around 7:30 a.m.”
With the old lobby under construction in Boland Hall, a temporary desk was set up in the cellar near Campus Ministry. Melanie Touchard, a resident assistant and sophomore psychology and philosophy major said the tight corridors and long walk-ups aren’t ideal, especially when many try to file in and out of the building at once.
“It’s really tight down there and that has been the biggest impact that has disrupted me the most,” Touchard said. “It sucks to have that traffic jam of people trying to get in and out.”
Ransbottom said that due to the cellar being the only entrance, people take more time to evacuate for fire drills. When re-entering the building, she said, students often block the hall waiting for an elevator.
“It’s not super convenient for everybody,” Ransbottom said. “But nothing ever goes perfectly to plan.”
The resident assistants have been kept relatively uninformed as to the progress of the work from the department of housing and residence life, according to Ransbottom.
“I’ve had multiple residents ask me when the construction will be over, and I just tell them I’m not really sure,” Ransbottom said. “They don’t give us many updates about it.”
For some students, the construction means new beginnings.
“The benefit of having a new building and a new front [to Boland] is going to outweigh the cost of what we’re dealing with now,” Touchard said. “I’m excited to see the finished product.”
Touchard said she hopes the construction can finish over the summer, just in time for the arrival of new students in the fall. She said she wants to live in Boland Hall again and see the finished construction.
Ransbottom said that the first-year experience of freshmen is very important. She said the renovated dorm can only add to the freshmen’s experience.
“They’ve never been to college before or lived away from their parents,” Ransbottom said. “At the end of the day it is their home, and you want them to have nice things. You want them to be able to take pride in where they live and enjoy their space.”
Patrick Tagerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org