Building projects shake classes in Blegen

The Central Corridor light rail line is the only project nearby.

Kevin Burbach

Professor Enid Logan and her class sat in silence last Thursday as tremors rumbled through the ceiling and walls of their Blegen Hall classroom.

Logan, an associate sociology professor, is one of many University of Minnesota professors and students who said Central Corridor light-rail construction on the West Bank has disrupted classes and been a nuisance in Blegen.

âÄúIt sounds like Godzilla is walking on top of us,âÄù said Logan, who teaches a course in the basement of Blegen on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

So far, the University hasnâÄôt been notified of problems in Blegen.

âÄúWe havenâÄôt heard anything but weâÄôd like to be notified so we could fix any problems,âÄù said Brad Hoff, chief administrative officer for Facilities Management.

Hoff said there arenâÄôt any University construction projects in progress near Blegen.

Central Corridor spokeswoman Laura Baenen  said the West Bank station is being built, but that she didnâÄôt think the construction would cause noise problems nearby.

âÄúWe havenâÄôt received any complaints,âÄù Baenen said. âÄúWe arenâÄôt doing any removal [of pavement], so IâÄôm not sure what would cause the noise.âÄù

Blegen Hall is located on Washington Avenue about 100 yards from the future location of a light-rail station.

One of LoganâÄôs students, Laura Ricke, said the noise âÄúsounds like the walls are going to break.âÄù

Students in other parts of the building have noticed the construction as well.

Senior David Wollschlager said the noise has disrupted his Tuesday philosophy class on BlegenâÄôs ground floor.

âÄúMy TA hates it. Some days it gets to the point where he wants to cancel class altogether.âÄù

So far, classes havenâÄôt been cancelled because of the noise, but it still poses a problem, Wollschlager said.

âÄúItâÄôs very disruptive. ItâÄôs infrequent but when itâÄôs there, itâÄôs impossible to learn.âÄù

Students in other parts of the building said they havenâÄôt been affected.

âÄúEvery so often it starts for about a half a second, but it doesnâÄôt distract me,âÄù said James Beuche, a sophomore who has an American studies class in the basement at 11 a.m.

Kevin Anderson, who works in the Office of Information Technology in the basement of Blegen, said he hasnâÄôt heard any noise.

âÄúI havenâÄôt noticed anything, but IâÄôm in a different part of the building,âÄù he said.

Other professors agreed with LoganâÄôs complaints.

âÄúItâÄôs just not appropriate. Students are paying a big amount of money to come here and have a classroom setting like that,âÄù said Gabriel Weisberg, who teaches an art history course in the basement of Blegen.

Weisberg said the noise hasnâÄôt been a problem for more than a week, but Logan said the noise in her classroom began in late October and is ongoing. LoganâÄôs teaching assistant Alex Manning agreed.

Manning said he thought it started a few weeks ago.

âÄúItâÄôs like youâÄôre in a bomb shelter,âÄù he said. âÄúThe ceiling and walls shake. Like somebody is using a jackhammer right above you.âÄù