Students will not reap the benefits of current construction

Progress is a wonderful thing, but is there such a thing as too much? If one were to take a look around the St. John’s campus this year, it would seem that the University’s answer to this question is an emphatic no.

Though growth and expansion are important elements of any university and construction has never really been a serious problem at St. John’s in the past, it seems like the construction projects around campus have multiplied significantly over the last two semesters.

There probably isn’t a single point on the Queens campus where a person could stand and not be within view of construction.

However, is this necessarily a bad thing?
Yes, the campus may not look as nice as it once did, and problems like parking have become worse than ever, all of the construction projects are just steps to make St. John’s into a better university.

Before making any judgments about whether all the construction is really worth it, one must weigh the long term benefits against the short term problems that exist on campus.

In the long term, the University will have a better-looking campus, more housing, and more features, like the new UC to attract new students. In addition, the work being done by Carnesecca Arena and Belson Stadium will solve any current or future plumbing issues.

The student body also has much to gain, as the townhouses and the Henley Road project will offer additional housing to students who want to live on campus or in St. John’s off-campus apartments. The new UC will provide a place for students to hang out or to participate in clubs and Greek Life. And once all the work is done, the students will also be able to enjoy a campus without all the noise or the mess of the current construction work.

While the future of the University will certainly be improved by the construction, anyone who has been on campus this year has experienced plenty of reasons to view the work negatively. Commuter students, faculty, and staff members who drive to St. John’s every day are faced with shrinking parking lots, gates being blocked off without warning, and piles of dirt that blow all over their cars.

Aesthetically, the campus is a mess, with holes, hard-hat areas, and yellow tape everywhere you turn around. To top it all off, residents are waking up each morning to the din of bulldozers, hammers, and power tools.

Once again, many of the problems could be alleviated by some forewarning. If signs were posted or e-mails were sent out, then commuters would know when certain gates were going to be blocked off and residents would know which way not to walk to class if they don’t want the roar of a construction vehicle to scare the sleepiness right out of them. Then again, it would probably save them money on morning coffees.

It all really boils down to one big question: why does all of this work have to be done right now? All of the problems that currently exist on campus would be easier to deal with if they were not piled on top of everything else that is going on.

The University already has plans for construction over the summer, but maybe they should have scheduled some of this semester’s construction for the summer as well. That way, less students would be on campus during the bulk of the work.

It’s all well and good for the University to improve itself, and as a growing college, it should. The great misfortune is that all of the students who have to suffer through the mess, the noise, and the inconvenience (that would be us), will not be around to see most of the benefits.