New students get an unexpected welcome

The St. John’s Web site displays pictures of green sprawling lawns, majestic academic buildings, and smiling students as they leisurely walk to class.

This gives a false impression of the Queens campus these days, and when prospective students come to visit, they are surprised-in an unpleasant way. What they see pales in comparison to the Web site; construction equipment, swarms of hard hat workers, disgruntled students trying to find alternative routes, and dust particles blowing in the wind. Welcome to St. John’s University 2008.

Construction crews have overtaken our hundred acres of campus, making it an obstacle course for students. Barriers have been raised, blocking off main entrances to Carnesecca, Taffner Field House and the Little Theatre.

The only way to get into these places, which are vital parts of the school, is through the loading docks of Carnesecca, which is time consuming and is impossible to find unless someone explains the way.

This is the only way to gain access to these places for the next five weeks. This is not only inconvenient, but one cannot help but gain an instant headache after passing by the construction zone from all of the machines and workers.

Not only is the back of campus ripped to shreds, but the front of the campus, which is the pinnacle of our campus, has had construction crews on it for most of the year, for the completion of the new townhouses.

Although this is needed to increase residential housing, it is still an eyesore to the picturesque great lawn landscape. This is a crucial part of campus, since it is the first thing most people see when they enter the Queens campus.

This is a nuisance for current students, but the bigger impact is on prospective students of the University. Since there was a surge of applicants to the University this year, even more high school seniors came to campus to survey it.

A huge turnout occurred for Accepted Students Day, while the back of campus resembled a war zone, full of orange barriers, debris and dirt flying everywhere. The touring students did not expect to see this, because it did not resemble the graphics on the Web site.

Unless anyone explained to them what the construction was, these students and their families did not know why this massive overhaul was occurring and when it would be over.

These prospective students have other schools trying to win them over, so shouldn’t St. John’s put its best face forward, instead of having the “Welcome Future St. John’s Students” banner hanging high above the most ripped up part of campus?

Granted, these construction projects are necessary in order for the campus to keep improving and to handle the surge of students coming to the University. It seems that this is an inopportune time for the renovations to take place, when it is such a huge period for prospective students to come and visit.

The parents of the prospective students may also be concerned about all of the construction. It is not exactly safe to be around a construction zone, and it is almost impossible to avoid it.

With college tuition as expensive as it has become in this country, parents and students want to make sure that they will be going to school on a safe campus, with the least amount of hazards possible.

It might have been helpful to put signs near the construction explaining why the work is being done. This would prepare prospective students and parents who plan to visit about why there are unleveled ground and yellow tape greeting them when they come.

Knowing that construction is temporary and necessary to keep improving the campus may soften the shock when visitors see the torn-up campus.

And while it may be an eyesore for prospective students who come to see the school this semester, it could also impress the next batch of prospective students next year, and reassure the students that they made the right choice.

Right now, it’s a headache to current students and faculty, but the short-term blockages and closures will be worth it when the renovations are complete.

It will definitely be a relief when the construction crews finally move out, and the new buildings and landscape are available for all to enjoy.