Construction anywhere is pretty irritating, and while it may not be quite as bad as construction on the highway, construction on campus can get pretty annoying. Over the course of my four years here there has been quite the number of construction projects.
- Parking Garage. Being that it was prefabricated off campus and then simply delivered and assembled here, it really wasn’t too much of an inconvenience. Yes, before completion the space was quite the muddy, industrial eye sore, but the much needed parking spaces greatly out weighed this short period of looking at orange construction fences. Being a heavy commuter school, parking on campus is still tough during the middle of the day. I have no idea where people parked before getting the parking garage! Upon the erection of the parking garage, campus services and campus police were relocated there opposed to the basement of Krasa like they were my freshman year. This location is much easier to find for students and much more convenient for the staff.
- Rice. This was a major accomplishment for Benedictine. I remember before we got our nice new fitness center and athletic training room including a hydrotherapy room. Before these updates the weight room was smaller than that of my high school (and I went to school in a farm town of 1,200 people) and the athletic trainer’s was a dungeon. The weight room had out dated equipment and no room for more than 6 people to be doing anything. There was only one working bike which meant sometimes a wait list of 20 people just to use the one bike. As a distance runner, that meant if you were injured and needed to bike to get your fitness in, you were waiting around all day. The training room was even smaller; it was dark, gloomy, and so crowded there wasn’t really even room to do PT exercises. Thinking back it is crazy how our athletic trainer used to treat all of our student athletes in such poor conditions. The construction was frustrating. We were displaced a lot during that period while we were waiting for things to be finished. Facilities were off limits, parking lots were closed down, and for a period we didn’t have any athletic training room. Most of this was over the summer luckily. The hydrotherapy room in particular took a very long time to get up and running due to permit issues. Regardless of the hassle from construction, it ended up being well worth it. The fitness center now is amazing with tons of nice new equipment all monogrammed with the Benedictine “B” and enough treadmills and bikes to go around! The fitness center also houses a great dance studio where weekly fitness classes are hosted. The cross country team often schedules time in the studio for recovery yoga!
- Sidewalks/Service Road/Parking lots. Another common area of construction, including currently, is sidewalks. This can be a large hassle as it completely shuts down some areas requiring you to either take the long way to class, or walk in the grass/mud. Luckily these projects usually don’t last that long though. When they are completed it is always worth it to have nice freshly paved sidewalks without having to worry about twisting an ankle in a pothole. Likewise goes for the service road! That thing was getting just awful these past three years ever since they brought in the prefab parking garage using the service road. I prayed my car wouldn’t lose a hubcap every time I drove down that porous old thing. Just this past summer that had it repaved. I don’t think anyone was complaining about that construction! Now the road is a breeze to drive down and you no longer have to weave like you’re avoiding landmines!
- Neff Center. Though this building’s construction didn’t bother me too much, it did last a while and I’m sure some of the faculty who work in Lownik and Scholl were not as okay with it. Though debated among some of the students, this new welcoming center was a great investment as a way to maintain some of the history of campus as well as update the area. Construction limited traffic on that side of campus to one lane which caused some jams but once the building was complete it really offered a nice touch to campus.
Soon on campus there will be more construction as the new business building is completed. And though during the time it will I’m sure be frustrating to the students and faculty, due to large machinery on campus in addition to a muddy mess when it rains, upon completion it will be a much needed addition to campus. I’m quite jealous that it won’t happen until I leave as it supposed to contain a large auditorium which might spur the formation of a drama program on campus. This auditorium would be so beneficial for classes and guest speakers, as well as like I said the possibilities for new majors in the performing arts. The point is no matter how irritating construction is on campus, it always leads to bigger and better improvements. Just in my four short years here on campus so many things have changed for the better. I know the students are so grateful to have these updates and cannot thank all of the Alums and donors who make it possible.