Construction near South Campus dorms. (Jake Kelly/UConn Journalism)
By Jake Kelly
Michelle Shavnya would have chosen a different place to live her senior year if she had known of the impending construction right next to her dorm.
She has a suite in Wilson, a residence hall in University of Connecticut’s South Campus, and she has no choice but to tolerate the noises from the truck access for the new construction of a residence and dining hall. Even before 8 a.m., the beginning of construction, beeping and backing up of trucks can be heard as the workers prepare for the day.
“It gets loud, especially sometimes when they use the jackhammers,” Shavnya said whie standing outside her suite. “You never really know what a given day will look like.”
Despite the disruption to her life, she still considers herself lucky her suite faces away from much of the ruckus of construction, especially the underground explosions.
The University of Connecticut boasts an assortment of innovative design and old, historic red brick buildings. In recent months, it’s also been host to large-scale construction projects such as the Toscano Family Ice Forum and the Science 1 Research Center.
In November, ground was officially broken for a new residence and dining hall located in South Campus, according to a Powerpoint from Residence Life. It’s one of four planned projects for the area, which will also include relocation of the historic houses, an infrastructure project and Mirror Lake improvements.
However, all this new development has created obstacles for students and has disrupted their lives, particularly those who live in South Campus dorms.
Prattoyi Saha, a junior physiology and neurobiology and psychology double major living in Rosebrooks Hall has faced multiple inconveniences since construction began. She’s been woken up by construction and blasts that vibrate her room; lost access to a main route to class and nearby bus line; received no accommodation, like earbuds, to deal with the noise; and has faced a lack of transparent communication from the university.
“There hasn’t really been any effort made, in my opinion, to make this any easier for us,” Saha said.
Saha describes herself as an adaptable person, but the lack of communication and information has made it hard for her to do so.
“It’s mainly just the communication. I wish the university had been a lot more clear about when things were gonna start, what things would be affected and then asked for some input on ways they could help us adjust to the situation,” Saha said.
Danielle, a senior psychology major, asked for her last name to not be used in order to speak freely about her experiences. She is a friend of Saha’s and her former roommate. She made the difficult decision to leave her friends in Rosebrooks to move into a Hilltop apartment because of the noise and the lack of university communication and residential life.
Construction was announced on Aug. 3, right after the fall housing cancellation deadline. She said residents didn’t receive a timeline until Oct. 20, in the form of an information session announced last minute.
Danielle lived in a suite looking directly into the construction. She said she is a light sleeper and was often awakened around 6:30 or 7 a.m. even though there were supposed to be quiet hours until 8 a.m. She also said no accommodations, such as earbuds or soundproofing, were made.
It was hard for Danielle to walk away from her group and the close proximity that made spending time together easy.
“One of the people I was living with, who is like my best friend at UConn, we hung out everyday. I can still see them, but not as much. It was really hard to break that news to them, because it was a process to get us all to live together,” Danielle said.
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