NSights Blog

Frustrated with campus construction? Remember, we're all in this together

If the campus seems a little busy with construction this summer, you're right, it is; but let's try to keep the long view in mind

Frustrated with all of the construction on campus?

You're not alone.  A student emailed me that she felt like she was attending summer classes on a construction site. She lamented the construction detracted from her enjoyment of the campus.    

Not long afterwards, I received an email from a colleague commenting about how cool it is that we have money to build beautiful things! She cheerfully recounted all the projects going on around her.   

Two different perspectives.  Yet, interestingly, we all want the same thing - well maintained, comfortable, accessible, productive and lovely spaces in which to live, study, work and play.

I'd like to invite you to recall a decade ago, when students were listening to the construction hammers and noises of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center under construction, while making the best of the deteriorating Getchell Library. Some graduated and left before the ribbon was cut on this beautiful building we all enjoy (and perhaps take for granted) today.  

Also a decade ago, the University plunged with the nation into economic crisis that resulted in cuts to education and research programs and staff, reduced facilities, and limited construction. It was a much quieter campus back then.  

Fast forward to 2017, and the opening of the new E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center, and a new residence hall and arts building underway. We have funds to fix failing hot water piping, and to upgrade our aging campus electrical service, providing dependable power to meet increased demands and safety of power-sensitive experiments. We are digging and building everywhere, providing work to construction contractors, engineers and architects, and improving and preparing our campus for the decades to come.  

Yes, it is loud this summer. In fact, I'm listening to jack-hammering outside my window as I type this on a collapsible table serving as a temporary desk while I wait to move to a new office space. We are all in this together. It is inconvenient to get around campus daily, and I am reminding myself that the noise and interruption is a good thing - it is growth, it is employment, it is a better campus for students arriving in less than a month, and for the students who will attend over the next several decades. We are a campus that is alive and growing - with all the mess that entails!  

Facilities Services is thinking in terms of decades, sometimes several decades, to ensure the University physical assets are available for students to enjoy.  This involves planning limited dollars to address a substantial deferred maintenance burden - everything from full building renovations to upgraded classroom facilities, fire sprinklers, sidewalks, asphalt, roofs, plumbing, heating, cooling and windows.    

This means the campus must occasionally be torn up to install new or upgraded systems.   So, next time you see a fence spring up across your regular pathway, think of it as a temporary inconvenience that will yield years of benefits! Facilities Services strives to be good stewards of our campus assets and of our available funding.

For more information about project in planning, underway, or recently completed, check out our construction website at https://www.unr.edu/facilities/campus-construction

Denise Baclawski