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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Carver construction rattles campus

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In Bond Hall near midday, the halls and classrooms are filled with students studying. Above the din of lectures and chatter resounds the beeps, tings, large booms and machine noise coming from the Sam Carver Gymnasium renovation project in full swing less than 30-yards away.

And it’s about to get louder.

A university press release published by Western Today stated that “a large excavator and concrete breaker will create very loud, deep rumbling noises and vibrations.”

The current phase of the Carver Gym construction project will address “urgently needed seismic reinforcement throughout the facility,” according to the press release. This kind of construction involves excavation for the building foundation. Based on geotechnical reports there is a likelihood that workers will encounter rock during the plumbing system excavation.

Geoffrey Stone said his German class in Bond Hall was interrupted during the construction due to noise.

“We couldn’t really talk about anything because we could hear it, and they were being really loud outside for about a minute,” Stone said. “There was a lot of the construction noise and the trucks are moving through doing their thing.”

“For the next month there will continue to be site utility work, installation of foundations and seismic mitigation work,” said Paul Cocke, director of communications and marketing, in an email.

As work on Carver Gym accelerates into the underground seismic stage, students and professors in Bond Hall are preparing for even more construction-related disturbance.

Professor Michael Slouber, who teaches in Bond Hall, has dealt with the construction noise since it began.

“If I make sure all the windows are shut tight, it is usually not too bad. I speak loudly,” Slouber said in an email.

On one exam day in Slouber’s religion and society in India class, a student raised concerns in his classroom regarding the noise for fear of distraction.

Troy Ragsdale, who manages classroom scheduling, was able to find the class an open room in the humanities building for their exam. Although the noise could still be heard from this building, it was not distracting at that distance, he said.

Paul Cocke said in an email that the space administration and classroom scheduling offices have been working with professors that need to be relocated and doing what they can to move classes.

Professor Julie Winter, who teaches two classes consecutively in Bond Hall, is not particularly fond of the construction, she said.

“Really, the noise from the Carver construction is quite bad. It’s hard to hear the students sometimes because of it, and I have to make sure I always project my voice above it. But more than that, it is physically disturbing and uncomfortable for me to be around that much noise for that long,” Winter said in an email.

Winter had attempted to move her classes when she learned of the noise, however, she was unable to find an available room at the time of her courses.

Cocke pointed out that several town hall meetings have occurred to inform professors working in nearby academic buildings about the work, and that weekly updates about the construction schedule are published on Western Today.

Brian Lee, a computer science major, takes classes in Bond Hall every day of the week, except for Wednesdays. He hears noise every other class.

“The worst is all the dust in the pathways that ruins good shoes,” he said

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