It’s a balmy Monday, late in the afternoon on the first day of the first full week of classes in the Fall semester. Small clusters of students are scattered around tables in the newly completed Campus Plaza, an expanse of pale and dark gray bricks, dotted with aluminum tables and chairs. True Grit, whose turned head makes it appear as though the chestnut-colored retriever is eternally watching an errant cat or squirrel, stands guard today as he has since the late 1980s.
Roxanne Ricamata, a freshman computer engineering major, is among the few people sitting in the recently finished plaza. She is one of the many new students for whom the completed construction projects serve only as pleasant amenities rather than a reminder of past inconveniences. “It’s a really nice campus,” said Ricamata. “I know it’s going to look even prettier when the construction is done.”
However, some students have felt much less welcomed by the new entrance. For returning students, the campus gateway feels like a downgrade due to its more complicated traffic pattern.
“They should’ve just kept the lanes. The lanes were fine,” said Terri Chase, senior media and communications studies major. Though the roundabout was intended to improve the flow of traffic, Chase has observed the opposite. “I don’t think the roundabout makes it easier,” she said, “when you drive on this campus, people aren’t very considerate of other people.” The more complicated roadway has compounded this problem.
Getting past the campus isn’t enough to alleviate Chase’s displeasure. Like many of her peers, Chase has expressed irritation over the state of the Library Pond.
“They’ve been doing construction on it since I got here,” said Chase. “I don’t even know what they’re going to do with it.” The constant delays and lack of transparency have frustrated students, who don’t see any progress taking place.
It comes as a comfort to others on campus that the current wave of construction projects is coming to a close. This has made the daily commute easier, and made campus more navigable. “I know last year there was barely, or like, a lot of walkways were blocked off and some walkways were not even here,” said Robert Galvan, a sophomore studying computer science.
Even after all the inconveniences, many students look forward to the finished products. “It looks like they’re making some progress,” said Galvan, lounging by the unfinished pond, “and it looks pretty good.”