Editor’s Column: Student Welfare Put on Hold for Construction

Jessie Markovetz

After approximately a week of operation, College Street will once again be closed due to construction starting Friday. The road has been unusable for most of the year, an unwelcome consequence of renovations to Case Library. As a resident of Parker Apartments, I find the prolonged closure of College Street has been an extremely frustrating and mind-boggling situation.

College Street’s closure has generated numerous problems in my life and the lives of many others on a daily basis. The Colgate Cruiser has become a worthless mode of transportation. When heading up the hill, students must take an extended detour down Broad Street and up Oak Drive. Cruiser rerouting increases travel time to class, and while the delay may be only a few extra minutes, most students do not have time to spare during this hectic portion of the day. Luckily, we have experienced an extremely mild Central New York winter, and walking to class remains a feasible option. However, the point of this article is to express my frustration with College Street’s closure, not to debate the different means of getting to and from class.

Using the Cruiser to get back down the hill is equally inconvenient. This week, I was fortunate enough to catch the shuttle on my way back from class. While the Cruiser was heading downtown, I was able to get off at the corner of College and Broad and walk the final leg to Parker. This is simply not an option when College Street is closed.

I’m sure that many students believe that College Street’s closure is not a big deal, and that students should suck it up and walk to class. However, it is the inconsistency and prolonged nature of the construction project that augments my frustration. This year, the road has been opened and closed on at least three separate occasions, and periods of operation pale in comparison to the number of days that the road has been closed. While I appreciate all attempts to make the road operational, I feel that the University should take a more active role in keeping College Street open. Students are already forced to deal with the inconvenience of having a library that is more befitting of a high school than a top level University.

It is hard to dole out criticism because I do not know all the factors contributing to the decision to close College Street. However, those in charge of the operation should increase their collaboration with the construction company and hammer out a plan to keep the road open for as long as possible.

In an article run in the February 10 edition of The Maroon-News entitled “Warm Weather Speeds Up Renovations,” Vice President of Administration Mark Spiro discussed the difficulties created by cold weather and snow during construction. Spiro then said, “So we’re hoping for hot, sunny weather throughout this winter.” While the weather has been extremely fortuitous, statements such as this one make me question the planning that took place when examining the side effects of construction. The entire process has been riddled with problems at almost every phase of development.

I hope those reading this article will not simply dismiss it as a student ranting about having to walk to class. The current conditions that students are being asked to deal with are far from ideal. I often wonder if administrators, many of whom have parking spaces close to their offices, are aware of the impact of their decisions on students. I can only hope that everyone involved is doing their best to accelerate construction and curb its negative consequences. To this end, I have been disappointed by the results of the ongoing library construction.