The large, diamond-shaped, obnoxious orange sign proclaiming that there is “Road Work Ahead” is putting a damper on my summer spirits.
I have not prepared myself for summer construction again. My mind is not mentally equipped to handle the constant drilling or the mass confusion of blindingly orange signs. I naively expected blossoming flowers instead of over-ripened traffic cones to line the concrete sidewalk.
Within the University’s Facilities and Services department, there is a specific construction and management division that has scheduled 30 construction projects for 2011. It may be more than just summer construction that I have to grow accustomed to on this campus.
The jackhammer’s piercing screech makes me sympathize with my Champaign counterparts, and the dust rippling into the air makes me want to apologize to my allergy-ridden friends. The sight of construction causes an ugliness to seemingly arise out of the depths of the earth. It ruins whatever is in its path to wreak havoc on a once-beautiful area.
The listed projects for this 2011 vary from repair and maintenance to large-scale infrastructure plans, which means extensive construction for CU residents in the near future. Sixteen streets, car parking lots, bike parking lots or sidewalks will be partially closed during this upcoming year for a range of time from an hour to seven months.
With the obnoxious orange traffic cones and metal fences, my travels are hindered at every step, literally. The pedestrian can at least hop over low barricades or skip over a few stone piles, while the driver has to maneuver so much more. The elaborate maze of detour signs creates a thundering panic even in the most strong-hearted individuals behind the wheel.
The list of 41 construction projects on the University’s web site include former and a few current yet-to-be-completed construction projects with estimated budgets that temporarily stop one’s heart.
The Allerton Dining Hall Renovation started in July 2008 and completed in May 2009 cost $1,000,000. The Business Instructional Facility started and completed in that same time frame cost $62,000,000.
With the millions of dollars worth of construction projects, I have to remind myself that the University is in tremendous debt, causing an upward spike in tuition prices for those poor incoming freshmen. The perpetual cycle of construction projects costing ludicrous amounts of money, followed by the demand for higher tuition prices, which leads to complete outrage at the cost of college does not seem to end. There is more at stake than sheer annoyance at construction. It’s a matter of financial security for those who wish to be educated. The question then arises: do we have to grin and bear it?

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