Construction fences take over campus

A person walks along the fence erected on the East side of 17th Street next to Meyers Hall on May 7, 2015. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

For many students on campus, their main goal is arriving to their classes in a timely manner. Between dodging cars at the crosswalks, and avoiding collisions with bikers and the infamous slow walkers, the trek to campus can get congested easily.

Unfortunately, many students are facing a few extra bumps or detours in the road impacting their daily commute.

If the walking path you normally take to get to class has been disrupted, it is likely the construction all over campus is to blame. It is only the beginning of many projects that are set to take place over the next few years due to the university strategic plan, K-State 2025.

For the safety of students, each construction project on campus has fences put up around the area. Throughout the course of the school year there have been fences around the engineering complex, the sidewalk outside of Hale, Wefald Hall and outside of Justin Hall.

On April 13 the largest project started, closing down 17th Street for the chilled water expansion project. 17th Street is one of many key roads to be closed off in the next 18 months for the chilled loop that the pipes will go under the campus.

After graduation, construction will continue onto Claflin Road, in what is one of the bigger sections of the project.

Students are finding the construction on campus very frustrating.

Olivia Cox, junior in mechanical engineering, said she has had to make adjustments to her walk in between classes to avoid the fences.

“The fences have definitely been an inconvenience to me,” Cox said. “When walking to my class, I had to reroute my path to a longer path because of the fences.”

Cox said she has went as far as leaving class a few minutes earlier just to ensure that she makes it to her next class on time.

Ryan Swanson, associate vice president of facilities and university architect, is in charge of the upcoming expansion and all the improvements occurring on campus.

Swanson said he understands the construction can be an inconvenience for students and facility on campus.

“We’re trying to do more of the painful work during the summer while students are gone,” Swanson said.

It is crucial that the construction for the chilled water expansion starts immediately because it is a stepping-stone for all further renovations and expansions planned for the university.

“It is almost like we’re building the things that should have been built before campus started,” Swanson said.

While some students can’t see past the annoyance with the construction on campus, others are seeing the positive on what the new renovations can bring to campus.

Alexa Oliphant, sophomore in family studies and human services, said she is looking forward to what the new renovation plans will bring to campus.

“I’m excited to see the end result of the construction projects,” Oliphant said. “All the hassles and fences will be worth it in the end once we have the pedestrian mall and renovated buildings.”

Next fall students can still expect to see fences around campus. The Berney Family Welcome Center construction will continue until Spring 2016. Wefald Hall construction will finish up during Summer 2016. The K-State Student Union renovations will begin this August and continue for the next few years. Also, the business building will continue until next summer.

The end to the construction will not be seen for a few years, but Swanson said he hopes students stay positive and understanding regarding what is happening on campus.

“We’re doing something that doesn’t happen but every 40-50 years and that’s the chilled loop around campus,” Swanson said. “This will set up everything we need to start the other renovations around campus.”