Campus mall to open

Story by Andy Hildebrand, Staff Writer

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Although slowly, the construction that will re-shape much of the university’s landscape all over campus is progressing as planned and students are finally able to navigate the mall more easily.

As of 6 a.m. Thursday morning, most of the fences blocking students from the majority of the campus mall should be removed. The opening of the sidewalks marks the end of the most troublesome of construction projects from a student’s perspective. Terry Classen of Facilities Management said that although most of the fences may be gone, there are afew exceptions.

“The sidewalk that parallels the creek will be closed for a little while yet,” Classen said. “Although I don’t foresee that being an issue. The walk on the west side of the education building will also still be closed for over a year yet so the contractors have room to work.”

Even though the majority of the fences are going down, senior Ali Ciatti, a double major in advertising and photography, is fed up with the construction. For her, it boils down to more than just the hassle construction creates, but a serious lack of communication.

“The construction makes me really frustrated at this point,” Ciatti said. “There are never specific dates given to us when things will get done or if we do get a date, they are never actually done on that day. I know we are trying to make our campus beautiful for future students but its difficult being one of the current students who may or may not get to see the payoff of all this inconvenience.”

For Ciatti, the construction has made seemingly easy tasks sometimes impossible by creating a time crunch.

“Normally it would take me five minutes to get from an academic building to Davies, but will now take 10,” Ciatti said. “Its a little annoying especially if I have a meeting to get to in Davies but I’m getting out of a class in Haas.”

Ciatti’s plight isn’t an uncommon one. However, with the completion of the sidewalks finally here, many of her concerns may at long last be set at ease. According to University Communications Executive Director Mike Rindo, the sidewalks join a collection of other projects that are already finished.

“Little Niagara Creek was a resounding success,” Rindo said. “It will be an integral part of the campus mall moving forward.”
Rindo also acknowledged that delays are often unavoidable in construction projects, especially one of this magnitude. The key is dealing with those hangups when the pop up. The staff is still working out some of the kinks in the Davies Center.

“We’re definitely still trying to fine tune Davies,” Rindo said. “Since you’re operating a brand new building, it takes some time to figure it all out.”

As a whole though, the campus construction is moving along as anticipated. The parking lot near the Haas Fine Arts Center was successfully completed before the semester began and the new education building is on schedule. That doesn’t mean the monstrous project wasn’t without its own hiccups though.

“We had a little problem in getting stain for the building, but that’s been resolved,” Classen said. “Now they’re rushing to get the building sealed so it can be heated while they work throughout the winter.”

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