By HANNAH GALEONE
The construction work that has started on the university’s Jepson Science Center has recently caused a multitude of problems for students and faculty. Sections of College Avenue and the surrounding areas of Jepson are cloaked in industrial fabric and lined with construction cones. The renovations to the building and nearby areas are expected to continue for an approximated 18 to 24 months.
The construction was announced to the UMW community in early October in an email sent out by Facility Services. The email contained a short description of the renovations and a map that showed the changes ahead for the vehicular and pedestrian traffic paths. The initial phases of the renovation project involve realigning the access road to the back of the Simpson Library, as well as a new loading dock access road just inside the entrance to the Anderson Center.
The work being done to the Jepson area begins at 7 a.m. everyday and continues until 5 p.m., five days a week. Sometimes the work needs to be extended into Saturdays. Since the construction’s hours coincide with the academic day, the raucous from the work has become a problem for students in their daily routines. The noise from the construction affects students both in their classrooms and in their dorms.
“The construction is right outside the lab that I am in during chemistry,” said sophomore biology major, Cayley McGuire. “It sounds like they’re using a jackhammer outside of the window… It’s incredibly distracting, the [lab rooms] that are next to the construction hear everything.”
Since the Jepson loading dock is now inaccessible, there has been an inability to get deliveries, which poses an issue to the research being done within the building.
“I was told my research was all but dead since I wouldn’t have access to a necessary component required to run the instrument involved in my research,” said senior chemistry major, Andrew Franklin. “We weren’t [going to be] able to get shipments [of materials] for almost 2 years, [but] the professors weren’t going to just let that happen.”
Professors have been helping their students get the necessary supplies that they need.
“A lot of professors have changed suppliers and found various other “band-aid” solutions to get themselves through until the renovations are complete,” added Franklin.
The construction has also caused problems for students in the dorms, spaces that are intended to be a quiet and relaxing environment.
Sophomore Meaghan McIntyre talked about the problems that have arisen in Arrington as a result of the construction, “Ever since the University cut off the air conditioning in our residence hall, my roommate and I have needed to keep our window open in order to keep the room at a comfortable temperature, since it has been so warm recently, even during the night, this has caused us to keep the window open when we’re asleep,” said McIntyre.
“We have both been woken up multiple times by the sound of construction in the morning, this has put us in the predicament of having to choose between either not being able to sleep well because of the heat or risking having our sleep disrupted when construction starts in the morning,” added McIntyre.
The construction has also forced UMW faculty and staff to alter their parking routines because the Jepson parking lot is now surrounded by construction fencing, 41 faculty and staff parking spaces have been eliminated, and visitors also have to find new places to park their vehicles. Faculty and staff members must now use the Alvey parking deck located off Route 1.
An additional email from Facility Services was sent out to the UMW community on Nov. 10, outlining further changes that are being made. This email told the UMW community that “pedestrian traffic will be prohibited along the access road from College Avenue to the Hurley Convergence Center.” Pedestrians wishing to go to Jepson or Campus Walk will have to either cut through the center of campus or use the walkways leading to the Anderson Center.