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The Blue & Gray Press | August 18, 2019

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Construction affects learning environment


Construction of the University of Mary Washington Convergence Center is posing many challenges on the University campus. Scheduled for completion in fall 2014, the building is situated near several on-campus dorms, causing a disturbance to many students.

“It seems like as the semester’s gone on, the construction has been progressively earlier [in the morning],” said Demi Naylor, a resident of Arrington hall resident and junior historic preservation major.

According to the Frequently Asked Questions page on the university website, construction is scheduled for 7 a.m., but has started as early as 3 a.m.

The administration made attempts to alert students about the change to the construction schedule and minimize noise, but it is having an impact on student’s grades and overall quality of life, according to students living near the construction site

“My grades have definitely suffered,” said Naylor. “My lack of sleep has impacted my test scores and my everyday functionality.”

Freshman Madison Reiley shared the same sentiments.

“My grades have suffered because I don’t have a quiet place to study. I can’t study in my room and I’m losing sleep because of the construction,” said Reiley.

In addition to the construction site, both on-campus and commuter students are affected by the obstruction of College Avenue

“There have been times I couldn’t get to class because they’ve been blocking the road,” said Reiley.

Students have spoken up about their issues with the construction site, centering mostly on the request to delay the start time of construction, according to Christine Porter, director of resident life and commuter student resident life.

Porter stated that the early start time of concrete pouring for the project is for the student’s safety and overall benefit.

“To pour floors and roof, concrete slabs have to be placed in two pours per floor. Each pour has taken eight to ten hours to accomplish,” said Porter.

“For reasons of student safety and to minimize impact on the daily academic schedule, these pours have been started at 3 a.m. and in most cases completed by 10 a.m. allowing the lot to be reopened for student use in going to classes.”

The W.M. Jordan Company, the company completing the project, is making efforts in their choice of equipment and procedures to minimize the intrusion of the project on students’ daily lives.

“We are utilizing an electric tower crane in lieu of a diesel engine powered crane since it is much quieter,” said K. Brooks Ballance, a project executive for the W.M. Jordan Company.

A covered pedestrian is located next to the service road in order to keep walkers safe when passing by the construction site.

W.M. Jordan Company is no stranger to building on college campuses in these situations, having built structures at the University of Virginia, Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University. The company took this experience into consideration when working on the Convergence Center, as well as the suggestions from the University.

“UMW has been talking with W. M. Jordan all along about the need to minimize these issues as much as possible,” said Ballance.

Students are concerned about the construction schedule and the noise increasing as they prepare for final exams.

While the construction will not come to a halt, both the W.M. Jordan Company and university faculty have stated that modifications will be made during exam week for the students’ best interest.

The construction company will not work on April 27 and 28 and April 29 to May 3 will be quiet hours, according to Ballance.

“Quiet days are defined as no loud equipment noise such as back-up alarms and jack hammering on the construction site,” said Ballance.

UMW President Rick Hurley has suggested that students find the quietest location possible for studying, including Simpson Library, Trinkle Hall, the lobby of the Anderson Center and the atrium at Eagle Landing.

For students remaining for the summer semester, “Masonry work will start the week after exams and continue throughout the semester,” said Porter.

W.M. Jordan Company and the University are hopeful that they will be able to minimize the continued impact of the construction site on students.

“We’ve enjoyed working on the UMW campus and are proud of the buildings that we’ve been privileged to help UMW construct,” said Ballance.