Construction projects a hassle

By Elsa Schmitz, Opinion Editor


Winter quarter brings a fresh start for students and an even fresher looking Patterson Hall, which is opening its doors for the first time since the beginning of the hall’s remodel in April 2010.

Many professors and students are left wondering when the next project for Eastern Washington University will begin.

There have been many options for new projects on EWU’s campus proposed by various groups, including the Gateway Project, which will bring a whole new face to Roos Field, and a remodel of the PUB. These projects are both large and costly.

The PUB remodel, according to an article posted on Eastern 24/7, will have additional costs on top of an approximate $10 million in necessary repairs, such as the HVAC and roofing. Most of the funding for the Gateway Project, up to this point, has been through private resources and has no estimated cost.

While I am thrilled to have two classes in the newly remodeled Patterson Hall, I am worried that students may only have a little while to transition to a construction-free campus before EWU takes on another extensive project.

The construction on Patterson, while reasonably contained, did make traveling across campus for classes and appointments slightly more difficult. Another large construction site, especially in regards to the PUB, would create a similar situation.

This discomfort, coupled with the cost of large projects, such as those currently suggested, lead me to pose a possible solution.

EWU should focus on smaller repairs and fixes for the time being, instead of jumping right into another large project that would cost the university and students precious time, accessibility and money.

I propose that the university instead focus on smaller projects that will improve the quality of life on campus. Some ideas include updating security systems around campus and for the residence halls — which may dissuade possible felons from sleeping in unused halls — increasing the accessibility of older buildings for wheelchairs and updating the fire alarm systems.

By focusing on bettering the existing buildings that are on campus for the next few years, EWU can thrive construction-free and create better environments for its students.