Is Constant Campus Construction a Positive or Negative?

If anyone has stepped foot onto the campus over the past year, the tall tale signs reading “Please pardon our appearance while we are under construction” signal that campus construction is still whirling in its constant motion. For most students, the pounding of hammers and blocked-off pathways have become about as customary on campus as the historic Wilson Hall. With the constant construction for the past few years, some are left wondering what there really is to improve. Even more importantly is there anything worth further correcting at this time?

Here at The Outlook, we ponder much of the same thing, and with all of us being students, the first thing brought up when the topic is presented is the matter of how will it affect costs and tuition. When The Outlook asked Patti Swannack, Vice President for Administrative Services, she assured that every year a separate construction fund is set aside in the overall budget, and that the construction, as most recently shown with the Joan and Robert Rechnitz Hall, is commonly run on donations from outside, nonstudent sources.

Although that adds a bit of security, some of us still remain a bit nervous about the possibility of spending beyond the budgeted means. All of which lead to the scare of tuition hikes, leaving some to say that the money should be withdrawn from other areas of the University in order to finish the construction.

Aside from the improvements not adding an extra fee to student’s bills, the staff believes that the building process should only commence if there is a substantial amount of grants being awarded to students and, furthermore, that there should be a worthy reason for the construction in the first place.

Within the past four years, the school has seen the completion of the Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC), a new residential hall, Rechnitz Hall, another residential hall and an addition to Bey Hall is expected to begin production sometime later this semester. All of which are improvements to our campus, but the only buildings essentially created from scratch are seen on the residential side of campus.

While residential housing is an important aspect for students who consider dorm life a major factor and would naturally prefer the buildings to be modernized, Monmouth is primarily a commuter school. Dorming is not considered the largest draw amongst the majority of prospective MU students, despite the medial amount of revenue it brings in.

Instead, some argue that the construction approved should go towards the academic buildings, and all new ones at that. While Edison Science Hall did receive a facelift, it was still an add-on of sorts to a currently existing, non-residential structure. Even the MAC was considered an extension of Boylan gymnasium, and the newly erected Rechnitz Hall was a replacement for the 800 Art Building. Furthermore, we have experienced the unwelcome side effects of the construction; the most begrudging being the use of trailers as temporary classrooms. The building woes even inconvenience those inside the classroom, with construction soundtracks disrupting the lesson discussions. Most simply would like to see the campus completed as a whole instead of in segmented parts.

However inconvenient the construction seems at times, it is seen as a privilege overall. The university prides itself on its beautiful campus, which serves as a draw to current and potential students alike. It is known that in order to maintain an appearance, effort is required, whether it be in the form of landscaping or construction. Therefore, credit must be given to the fact that this campus is able to find the resources, time, and individuals who are able to complete such jobs. All of these improvements are shown as a nod to how the university is always trying to change and modernize for its students.

All of this is hardly a bad thing, and if construction proves to have no worth and truly becomes as a great issue then perhaps a resolution should be found and proposed before full-blown criticisms are reached.

Until that time comes, we here at The Outlook are stumped for a solution, and until one is found we will simply bask in the improvements going on around us and take in the process, all until they are completed or tuitions rises whichever happens first.