Delays on Croft Construction hinder learning environment

Posted on Mar 4 2016 - 9:47am by Kelsey Sims

From the creation of the Pavilion to the new addition to the Union, the University is constantly making improvements to campus. When construction does not go as planned, however, it proves difficult for students and professors alike.

Construction progress on the Croft building next to the Grove. (photo by: Kamera Griffin)

Construction progress on the Croft building next to the Grove. (photo by: Kamera Griffin)

The construction on the Croft Institute for International Studies began last summer following graduation in May. Despite the deadline for the building, which indicated work would have been completed this past October, March has come with no end to the construction.
Kees Gispen, executive director of the Croft Institute, has seen the building’s construction process unfold.

“Once a contractor gets going on the work involving a historic building such as Croft, he almost always finds things that were unexpected and are more complicated than originally thought,” Gispen said.
Gispen said the damage to one of Croft’s walls was so severe that the wall had to be taken down and completely rebuilt. This factor alone caused many changes to the original plan for the building, including the hiring of a new contractor and the purchase of new materials. With these unexpected delays, the price for the project severely increased along with the timeline for its completion.

According to students and employees of Croft, this construction has hindered the teachers and students’ abilities to concentrate on their work since the fall semester.

Amy Fang-Yen Hsieh, assistant professor of Chinese at Croft, saw damage to her personal office.
“The construction workers seemed to remove some bricks inside the outer wall at the end of last semester, which made my office flooded after a few heavy rain showers at that time,” Hsieh said.  “The workers also blocked our window for the construction work so we couldn’t see outside from our office and we couldn’t have any sunlight.”
The damage caused by the flooding last semester has been repaired and the board covering the window has been removed.
Physical damages are not the only problems caused by this prolonged construction.

Many students, including sophomore international studies major Emily Harral, are finding it difficult to learn in this stress-inducing environment.
“Last semester, we had to move a class because the construction was loud, but the building we moved to on campus was not conducive to the style of class that Croft provides,” Harral said. “This semester, I have class in the building in the room on the first floor, and at times it is loud and then it is difficult to hear my professor.”

Harral also said many students were negatively affected by being restricted from access to the porch of the building.
“Many students have lost their place to study since they have not had the porch open and were unable to have tailgates during football season because the construction had closed the porch,” Harral said.

According to Gispen, the end of the building’s construction is in sight. The new completion date for the undertaking is projected for the near future.
“The rebuilding of the southeast wall should take about 6 weeks, I am told. The tearing down of the old one should be finished soon, after which the building phase can start,” Gispen said. “Even if we won’t make the dates that I’m hoping for, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
If they are able to stick to schedule, Gispen said she hopes that they might be able to finish the building before commencement.

“All in all, it’s been a rather small price to pay considering the long-term benefit for the Croft Institute and the University,” Gispen said.

– Kelsey Sims