OPINION | Early campus construction causes chaos for students

The removal of Nisson Towers and start of construction for Campus View III blocks several walkways on Utah Tech University campus. Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

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Closed roads, blocked pathways, no parking and unhappy students. That’s what the construction on campus brings to the student population.

Campus View Suites III was announced last semester to replace Nisson Towers. Expected to be the largest student housing building on campus, construction began at the beginning of the spring 2023 semester and is estimated to finish in July 2024. What faculty didn’t consider was the affect it would have on students.

Construction shouldn’t have begun until this semester was over, and the majority of students had left campus. It would have been easier for everyone if the campus remained as it was prior to construction for the remainder of the semester.

With half of the student housing parking lots blocked behind gates, students have swarmed the parking lot by the Udvar-Hazy Business building and Jennings Communication buildings leaving barely any available parking for those that live farther away.

What used to take seconds to find an open parking spot can now take up to 20 minutes. Most of the time, students end up parking in the M. Anthony Burns Arena parking lot because there are no parking spots closer to their classes. Parking lots were already filled to capacity before the construction, now it’s nearly impossible to find a parking spot close by.

I live 15 minutes away from campus, so I usually leave around 30 minutes before my classes start to find parking. With the amount of available parking spaces we have this semester, I leave 30 minutes before class and still walk in 10 minutes late.

Utah Tech University faculty should have taken into consideration the amount of students that use the parking lots. Not everyone has parking passes, but enough do that we need the full parking lot to fit everyone. With such a large chunk of the parking lot blocked off, there aren’t nearly enough open spaces to fit the students that need to park there.

With the construction also comes the road closure. The main road leading to the Jennings building’s parking lot was cut off making it so students need to go around the baseball field to make it to the parking lot. The traffic down that road is worse than ever and has led to car accidents. A car flipped on its side and rear-end accidents only made the situation worse. With only one route and too many students taking it, it’s bound to lead to more accidents and injuries.

If the construction had started when it was supposed to in the summer, no one would be having these issues. Students wouldn’t be walking into class late because they had to park on the other side of campus, walkways would be accessible to students that live near the construction, and the roads wouldn’t need to be closed.

Aside from the chaos this construction has caused, by starting construction later in the year, students wouldn’t have been relocated to different buildings throughout campus. The previous residents of Nisson Towers had to be moved to open rooms throughout other student housing buildings and some ended up at the University Inn down Tabernacle St.

Students who signed a lease with Nisson Towers wanted to be close to campus and some ended up farther than they wanted to be. If construction had been pushed back to the summer, these students wouldn’t be facing this issue and going through the stress of moving between semesters. No one expects to be moved halfway through the year because of construction.

While it can’t be stopped now and we’ll have to deal with the consequences of construction, faculty should have taken students’ lives into consideration when planning this new building. The new construction has disrupted the lives of those living around the work, those who go to class near it and those who had to be moved because of it. It’s something we’ll have to get used to, but it could have been avoided.