The construction work on the Commons’ roof, is addressing prominent water leakage, mold and space issues that have troubled the Commons for years. It is one of several construction projects currently underway on campus.
The Commons houses some of the major campus organizations such as Greek Life, the Student Government Association and the Women’s Center, while also hosting a number of different events throughout the year. However, in recent years, students and faculty have reported water leakages and mold that have made it difficult to utilize these spaces effectively.
Lenn Caron, assistant vice president of Facilities Management, said that “The Commons’ roof has been plagued with leaks for a number of years and these leaks have been repaired as they occurred.” The result of these scattered repairs was the temporary closing of certain spaces.
Caron added, “It was decided a couple of years ago to replace The Commons roof completely. Last year a project was completed to replace one of the three roofs on The Commons and the remaining two roofs are being replaced.”
He went on to explain that the ultimate goal of the project is to extend the life of the roof and cut back on current maintenance costs, while also providing a more energy efficient, watertight roof.
The projected completion date is less than a month away now, but student leaders believe that the ongoing process has illuminated a major issue on campus: the allocation of spaces for various student organizations.
In an interview with Felix Facchine and Meghan Lynch, both of whom are senior SGA members, they discussed that while disruptions caused by the issues in the Commons can be tricky to navigate, they reveal another issue that the campus faces.
“It reflects this general idea that students don’t have enough places on campus to gather. The Commons is supposed to be this ideal student union where you can come together to relax and hang out, and the construction has definitely magnified this issue,” said Meghan.
Students around campus have expressed the same concern. A senior social work student stated that they’ve had to work around the construction with particular student organizations in order to meet, but space was already an existing issue.
Students hope that once construction is complete, the discussion of long term plans about how to properly and strategically use these spaces will benefit the greater student body.
“All of these issues, on a bunch of different scales, are interconnected. The ultimate goal, whether or not we’re talking about potential water damage, or we’re talking about roof repairs, or we’re talking about space, the larger goal is that students have a space where they feel welcomed and they feel their needs are fully met,” said Felix.