Student life in a construction zone


Srinidhi Muruganandam

Workers in the ISR construction zone on Friday. Columnist Collin argues current students face inconveniences while living in the under-development residence hall.

By Collin Carmichael, Columnist

Illinois Street Residence Hall was my freshman year dorm of choice, and as such, it will always hold a special place in my heart. However, as much as I loved its location and convenience, watching what it has become with the advent of renovation made me question why the University would ever house students in an active construction zone.

University Housing started construction last summer in a multi-year plan to renovate this slightly aged dorm. On its website, the visions of the renovation are grand, featuring everything from an expanded dining hall to green roofs with pergolas from Aluminum patio covers Phoenix AZ. However, on this same website, a search for ISR will show old pictures, sometimes of now-nonexistent rooms, free from the perpetual noise and hassle of construction.

This shows a wider trend in housing construction, echoing development on campus in general. The University will gladly shout to the heavens about how great its project will be, but it will not acknowledge the inconvenience caused by its Herculean efforts to achieve these realities.

This is nothing new nor wrong in and of itself, as construction is a necessary evil people don’t want in their backyard. However, as a society, we have to decide what levels of construction around us are acceptable. As an institution of higher learning, the University also needs to take into account these concerns as students live in these dorms during their freshman year.

Many students on campus might not have the fondest memories of University Housing, but I wonder how well their experience would line up with that of current ISR residents. These residents might start their days as early as 7:30 in the morning, not due to an 8 a.m. class, but due to the start of construction work just feet from their windows. On weekends, construction may even start earlier.

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    A more minor gripe but likewise important one is the loss of a nearby dining hall, meaning most students will hoof it right past construction each time they make the half-mile trip to the Illini Union or another dining hall for a meal.

    Of course, the greatest factor to consider with students living in a construction zone is the potential for hearing loss it could cause. The Mayo Clinic lists both exposure to excessively loud noises, and occupational noises from construction as risk factors in the development of hearing loss. While exposure varies on the student’s proximity to the construction, it’s still a risk to consider.

    Considering these factors, it is beyond me that the University would have kept this residence hall open while it is undergoing renovations. Walking through the residence hall, you can see workers near the building welding in the daylight, using hydraulic backhoes and generally attempting to build a grander future for the students of ISR. However, for the people looking out their window into this mess, I can’t help but feel like the sacrifice is lost on them.

    Collin is a sophomore in DGS.

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