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PC Katie Hardy

Revamping UMBC’s aesthetic

It seems like there is always construction going on around campus, whether it’s reconstructing a scenic pond, creating an entryway outside of the RAC or tearing down walls in the Fine Arts building. Either way, it’s safe to say that the UMBC community has grown more accustomed to the loud noises of hammering, sawing and dump trucks.

Construction on the West Hill Apartments started in June of 2014. The West Hill community provided the very first campus apartments in 1980, and as John Fox, Director of Residential Life, said, “It was about time for an upgrade.”

Last Tuesday, Fox and a few of his colleagues at Residential Life welcomed apartment residents to the West Hill Apartments Town Hall meeting. Held in the Community Center Gold Room, the discussion centered on the West Hill construction area and the renovations being implemented.

(Patrick Alejandro for TRW)

The meeting began with a short presentation on the plan to demolish the Severn building and renovate the Chester building. About a month ahead of schedule, residents in both buildings will be moving out between Friday, October 16 and Tuesday, October 20. Chester residents will be moving to the Wye building and Severn residents will be moving to the Magothy building.

“It’s definitely inconvenient for people to have to move in the middle of the semester,” said Josh Denicoff, a junior environmental studies major. Denicoff currently lives in the updated Tangier building, and although he’s not affected by the upcoming move, he wonders how loud the construction will be.

Although Residential Life admitted that some students may have an issue with the sudden move in the middle of the semester, they believe this will provide a smoother transition as opposed to moving closer to finals, when the weather conditions may not cooperate.

Another issue brought up during the meeting was parking, which is a common problem among UMBC students. During the deconstruction of the Severn building, the field across from it will be used as temporary parking, leaving a net loss of only 27 spots out of the roughly 140 currently available spots.

However, the loss of the parking spaces is only temporary, as were the changed traffic patterns from the circle construction and the blocked campus walkways from the library pond construction.

While construction on the library pond area is still going on, students have already taken advantage of the seating surrounding the pond. “It looks like all of the hard work with the pond area has really paid off. It’s good they made room for more outdoor seating. I think it’ll be a nice place for people to relax,” said Denicoff.  

Improvements to this community provide green space for the apartment community, which allows outdoor student space for campus activities as well as additional parking for residential students,” said Fox. In the plaza in the West Hill Apartments community, there will also be grills and outdoor seating.

It’s important to keep in mind that during these seemingly constant changes, the end goal is to improve the aesthetics and functionality of campus spaces, allowing students to genuinely enjoy their time on campus.