In Ohio summer is construction season. It is hard to drive anywhere without encountering the reflective orange barrels that are now representative of warm weather to me. This is because since winter is such a difficult season here, most construction is nearly impossible during half of the year.
It’s understandable that there is construction, but it also is one of the most annoying things that I have dealt with as a commuter student for the past four years and continue to do so throughout graduate school.
Uptown Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University have changed drastically over the past few years, so there has been constant work being done. The University Circle Rapid Station on Cedar Road was under construction for two years of my undergraduate time here, making it even more difficult to cross Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and walk to campus.
Many of the streets around here are under construction too, like East Boulevard, which was only a one way street until this past week. Although these parts of construction around University Circle do not have to do with the university, they are still an annoyance in everyday life. I accept that they are unavoidable.
One part of construction that the university is a part of is the buildings on campus. There have been plenty of other articles in The Observer before about construction on campus and how the results ultimately don’t live up to the expectations, such as the long anticipated University Center and the ugly scaffolding that is still on Clark Hall with no progress in sight on getting them off. Currently, the Mandel School is under renovation and the majority of the building is closed and under construction.
Although renovation and change can be good, it is starting to get frustrating when every part of my day is slowed down by it. To deal with road construction is one thing, but having to sit in a classroom while there is constant drilling is a major distraction and hindrance on my education. Even though there is major construction on the Mandel School, many classes are still held in the building and professors still have their offices in there. I have no idea how anyone can get work done, because for the four hours of the day I have class in the building, there is at least 30 minutes to an hour of drilling during each class.
For a while I am able to tune out all of the loud noise, but when it is constant and over the 10 minute mark, it starts to seriously affect my concentration in class. One class I have in there often shows videos as a part of the curriculum and it is difficult to even hear that. Now into the fifth week of the semester, I am tired of the constant disruptions to class.
It is hard to accept the construction as a necessary part of life, since in my opinion there was not much wrong with the building before renovations began. At the least, the school should have tried harder to find a different building for classes to be in while there would be day-time construction for this semester or found a better schedule for the loudest parts of construction.
Though we might be the easiest and most accommodating group to the construction crew, according to the last email update I got, I do not think that the students or professors truly appreciate the constant distractions to classes, studying, and research in the Mandel School.
Why are the students and staff expected to go on as normal when no matter what you do, even when you close the windows and doors, there is loud buzzing throughout most of the class that teachers cannot talk over and one can barely think through?
Construction is a necessary part of life, but when it interferes with an education that I am paying quite a lot of money for, it is completely inappropriate. Clearly the school did not keep its students and professors in mind when making the decision to keep classes in the building while it was being almost completely renovated.
Abby Assmus is a graduate student at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.