UTC Students React to Campus Construction

By Joe Bailey, Staff Writer—

Both Vine and Oak Street are getting major renovations at the moment, and the work being done has cut off access to typically highly-traveled student routes on campus.

Definite construction completion times have yet to be announced, but the Vine Street project is expected to be completed first.

According to the information obtained through the UTC website, the changes being made include new lighting, pedestrian walking surfaces, additional trees, and a vehicle turnaround.

UTC students have certainly taken note of the construction cutting through campus and had a lot to say when asked about their experiences with it.

Interviews with several students revealed that opinions on the potential pros and cons associated with the project are quite mixed.

Freshman Alexis Serna says of her experience: “I’m in West Campus so I used to walk straight to class, but now I have to use that makeshift gravel thing which sucks, especially when it’s wet.”

Later, referencing the end goals of the project, Serna adds, “I mean it might add to the campus, making it look nice, because if you have an ugly campus then I guess people are less likely to come. Right now it’s actually competing with people wanting to come because tours can see all the construction.”

Commenting on his experience as an off campus student dealing with the construction, junior Logan Higdon said despite not living on campus, getting from building to building on time has been made more difficult since most of his classes constantly had him crossing the now-obstructed central campus throughlines.

Another issue brought up was the perceived lack of communication to students regarding the projects. Higdon contrasted this with the widespread announcement that on-campus smoking would not be allowed in 2019.

“They had that huge thing where they said there would be no more smoking starting January 1st, but [the school] barely talked about this thing that’s costing them way more money. There’s nothing inherently wrong with what they’re doing, I just think there were probably better ways they could have informed people about it.”

Using this topic as a jumping-off point, junior Trevor Oakley emphasized the importance of communication when it comes to projects like these. He referenced a questionnaire that asked where he would want a portion of his tuition money to go, and said that if this project is using that money, then students should be informed clearly about the details and purpose of the construction.

Despite some information being posted to the website, Oakley made a point that “If you don’t tell people this information, they are not going to go looking for it.”

Whether you’re talking about people’s trouble getting to class or a lack of communication, getting through to people at UTC has proved difficult lately.

Joe Bailey is a contributing writer. He currently attends UTC where he writes for the student newspaper, The University Echo. He is a communications major and can be reached at rvc821@mocs.utc.edu .

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