Construction for the new learning commons officially started approximately two weeks ago while Northwestern students were on spring break.
The project, scheduled for completion on July 15, 2013, has only just begun.
“A lot of the construction going on right now is merely preparation for the site,” said Dean of Students John Brogan.
Dale Buntrock of Gil Haugan Construction in Sioux Falls is the Superintendent for the project. Over the past couple of weeks, the crew has been working on clearing out trees, completing demolition and re-routing power lines.
“On Monday, we finished clearing out sanitary sewers as well as capping off some gas lines,” Buntrock said.
Upcoming projects include finishing up the water lines and digging the foundation for the new building.
Students who live on the north-east corner of campus may now find it difficult to reach destinations in a timely manner.
“It’s inconvenient to have to leave for class a few minutes early,” said freshman Brady Timmer, a resident of the North Suites.
Freshman Corinne Vanden Bosch from Steggy agreed with Timmer.
“It’s such a big detour,” Vanden Bosch said.
The construction zone spans across the green, from the front lawn of Steggy, all the way to the steps of the chapel. It obscures sidewalks and reduces already limited student parking.
According to Brogan, the parking lot that once sat in front of Heemstra used to be a functional street that ran through campus. Though it hasn’t been functional for years, the water, power and gas lines have yet to be re-routed.
“That’s why the construction is going towards Steggy,” Brogan said. “It’s a matter of relocating the lines.”
The learning commons will sit in line with the chapel, where the Heemstra lot used to be, parallel with the front of the chapel. The north wall of the commons will be located directly under the existing over-hang of Granberg Hall. The construction currently underway is simply preparation.
“The goal is to keep Granberg Hall in use until the end of the semester,” Brogan said.
Some students, such as freshman North Suites resident Matt Wesselink, are less than enthusiastic about the nuisance presented by the construction site.
“It’s annoying having to walk around it every day,” Wesselink said.
Not only is the site a physical obstruction; the noise level is irritating as well.
“It woke me up at 7:30,” said sophomore Whitni Harms, a resident of Steggy. “Last week it was right outside our windows.”
Though the construction zone is inconvenient for some, students appreciate the efforts being made to keep the hassle of the site to a minimum.
“It’s good they’re working to improve campus,” said junior Wil Van’t Hof, “They’re going out of their way to make it as convenient as possible.”