Construction affects student routines

by Rebecca Czaplewski

Amid the din of booming stereos and noisy neighbors, Territorial Hall residents can now add the sound of drilling and sawing to the list of distractions found in the freshman dorm.
Construction on a $5 million addition to Territorial began during finals week of winter quarter and is slated to be finished at the end of August, just in time for incoming students next fall. The new wing will add 144 beds to the residence hall, but current hall residents complain the ruckus is a detriment to sleeping and studying.
Dianne Timm, coordinator for Territorial, said the addition will provide much needed space to counter the demand for on-campus housing.
“I think that anything we do will make an impact and help,” Timm said. “We’re making a conscious effort to provide better housing.”
This fall, an overflow of freshmen were forced to call the Days Inn on University Avenue home. In addition to the Territorial expansion, officials hoping to remedy the housing shortage have planned the construction of a new residence hall in accordance with the South Mall project in 2000.
Construction expenses are covered by a $5 million bond. The bond will be repaid by student room rates, the revenue provided by students who live in the residence halls.
Housing and Residential Life representatives said the construction was part of the overall reason for an increase in rates for 1999-2000.
A feasibility study was done last year to examine the possibility of an addition on other existing residence halls, said Mary Ann Ryan, director of Housing and Residential Life.
“The Territorial option was most in keeping with the campus master plan and gave us what we felt was a significant number of beds,” Ryan said.
Although the need for more residence hall space on campus might not be questioned by most, many Territorial residents have major complaints about the noise and disruption due to the construction.
Workers are on the project site six days a week — from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, with instructions to minimize noise during the early morning hours. Four student rooms were lost due to the construction, forcing the residents to move.
Territorial resident and Institute of Technology freshman Dave Boehde lives in a room facing the construction site.
“I can’t sleep in the mornings — anyone in this hall would say the same thing,” Boehde said, adding that beginning the construction during finals week was a poor choice.
Dennis Olson, also a Territorial resident and IT freshman, said the noise has disrupted the daily life of many hall residents.
“It’s really hard to perform the daily functions we got used to, like come home after class and take a nap or study,” Olson said.
To address construction concerns, there is a bulletin board dedicated to construction questions in the hall and a list students can sign with questions and complaints.
Housing officials said they are trying to keep the construction as easy on the residents as possible.
“They are acknowledging the noise and doing what they can to minimize it, but at the same time they’re working with time constraints and have to finish by the fall,” said Tim Busse, communications director for Facilities Management.