Miller: Student Center Construction Has Slowed Students Down

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On the first day of classes this year, I woke up early and left my house with 20 minutes to spare so that I could drive my roommate and me to class and get the both of us there on time. Her class was on the opposite side of campus from mine but, last year, I had driven across campus and made it to the other side in less than 5 minutes, so I wasn’t worried. After all, we only live about two minutes off campus, so I had anticipated that 20 minutes would be plenty of time.

However, when I drove along Rt. 322, I was caught in the long, standstill traffic that lined the street. It took 15 minutes just to get from Discovery Hall to the Business Hall. After about 10 minutes in the same spot, she had to get out of the car to walk, as we didn’t think we would make it to James by 11 a.m.

The Chamberlain Student Center, as you might have noticed, has been under construction since Rowan students returned from summer vacation. Not only has the patio area in between the Student Center and the library been closed off, but the sidewalk has been closed as well. This has caused a lot of foot and vehicle traffic in the center of campus. 

The congestion, however, is not only caused by how many vehicles are on the road but the number of students that are traveling on foot to their classes. Even those who only need to walk from Campbell Library to the Student Center, need to walk around the building, cross the street once and then cross again, just to get to the building next door. 

The construction is not anticipated to be finished until the fall semester of 2023, according to the banner outside, which leaves current students stuck dealing with this issue for almost an entire year until the building is completed.

The changes are in order to accommodate and account for the university’s growth in student population and campus size. The plan is to renovate and expand the current resources to give students a central place to meet and spend their time.

The level of traffic in this area has caused some students, such as myself, to avoid the area entirely —which is a problem because it makes resources that the student center or the library have more difficult to find.

The congestion also causes students to be late for classes, which, in some cases, can be solved by waking up and leaving the house a little bit earlier, but for commuter students or students that have back-to-back classes throughout the day, it leaves them with less time to get from place to place. This is especially true on rainy days when walking all the way across campus to your next class is not the preferred option.

The police officers that stand near the area act as crossing guards to give time for vehicles and students to pass by, and to try and keep things moving smoothly. The wait time, however, is still long, and just getting down the street is a slow and tedious process.

While construction is underway, the site blocks off a crucial pathway that students use to get around campus. It is time-consuming and crowded, and when students are stuck waiting in a traffic line, that’s less time for them to spend doing school work or simply being in class. 

Given the fact that the parking lot behind Discovery Hall is one of the campus’ bigger and more popular lots, the construction makes accessing parking spaces more difficult than it already is for off-campus students.

As the year goes on and the weather gets colder, I foresee this issue only becoming worse. On days when there’s freezing rain or snow, will students that live only a two-minute drive away have to leave thirty minutes earlier just to get to their class and avoid walking in the bad weather? 

If students are unable to get through the campus with ease, it inhibits them from having a learning experience that is seamless and enjoyable — it only adds to the stress and anxiety that students may feel on a daily basis.

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