Since the conclusion of the 2009-2010 school year, Allegheny has undertaken an extensive amount of construction throughout campus, some of which is still in progress.
Though the Physical Plant finished much of their work before the beginning of the semester, a large portion of central campus will remain under construction through September. Both Allegheny and the city of Meadville initiated the construction efforts.
According to Brian Gillette, assistant director of the Physical Plant, this summer has been a busy one for campus construction.
“Our biggest project was the completion of the new residence hall,” said Gillette. “There’s still some landscaping that we need to finish up around [North Village II].”
In addition to North Village II, the school sponsored a number of outdoor projects, including the reconstruction of walkways, an update to the horseshoe running from Baldwin to the Admissions house and a new parking lot next to Caflisch Hall, all of which will conclude mid-September, according to Gillette.
The interiors of buildings also got a facelift, according to Physical Plant Director Cliff Willis.
“This year we’ve had a big focus on installing new boilers in Phi Kappa Psi and Caflisch,” said Willis. “We also re-carpeted Brooks and did all new paint schemes on the first and second floors. We will continue to do that until the whole building is done.”
To add to the extensive Allegheny construction, the city of Meadville just began the project of replacing water lines beneath North Main Street.
According to Gillette, the project was due to start last fall but was delayed due to problems involving budget, design and permit obtainment.
“The start date was a little difficult to nail down, but once they did have it, they’ve been in there doing their work,” Gillette said. “We don’t have control over that project; it’s entirely under Meadville’s discretion.”
The project is slowing down traffic up and down North Main Street, and once the city finishes with the area in front of Oddfellows, the project will move onto Allegheny Street and will extend all the way to Baldwin Street over the next couple of months. This will affect parking and traffic patterns on those streets.
The traffic complications provided a challenge for the Orientation staff last Saturday as they prepared for the influx of over 620 freshmen onto campus.
“[Orientation took] a lot of communication between faculty, peer leaders and volunteers, and then between myself and the Physical Plant,” said Lynn Zlotkowski, who organized this year’s orientation and schedule. “In the last mailing that we sent to parents I included a little move-in guide that included something about construction as well.”
Orientation Staff created signs that gave new students some direction as they navigated the construction zones to get to class. Professors were asked to give students extra time to find their classrooms.
“I don’t think this construction is any more intense than in previous years, it’s just that it’s present in more places that people are walking all of the time,” said Kristin Collins, ’12.
“It’s unfortunate because the construction right on the street makes me not want to bring my car here.”
“There will be temporary inconveniences, but we’re working hard to … change the fences so that you can walk up and down in a straight path,” Willis said. “That will allow for foot traffic to increase.”
All present construction, aside from the Meadville water line project, should be complete within the next two months.