Construction on the new Centennial Plaza officially began Monday as crews removed the concrete pavement from South Patio as part of the Master Plan.
The goal is to turn South Patio into a plaza with new trees, an outdoor lecture hall and a stage for small concerts. The construction has blocked the entrance to South Patio as well as the entrance to Which Wich and the front entrance of Henderson Hall. Some students are upset that the construction and obstruction of South Patio did not take place before now.
“I think they should’ve done it during the summer,” said freshman nursing major Miranda Harvill.
Senior business major Bronte McKinnon shared the same sentiment as Harvill.
“I hate when they do construction on campus because it always seems to happen at the most inconvenient times,” McKinnon said. “It always seems to be my luck that it’s happening outside one of my classes.”
Junior education major Dane Holland was more supportive of the timing of the construction.
“There probably is other stuff they could work on, but there’s got to be a reason they’re doing it now,” Holland said. “I’m sure they would do it over the summer but it just fell to where they’re working on it now.”
Director of Horticulture and Grounds Kevin Tucker understands student’s complaints but says there would never be a good time for the construction.
“In a perfect world we could do this over the summer, but when there’s progress there’s always inconvenience,” Tucker said. “We move projects as quick as we can and we’re trying to get this done for centennial events. Centennial Plaza is moving as quickly as it can with state funding and the procedures involved.”
The trees that were removed from South Patio and replanted in Sherlock Park will remain there. According to Tucker, new trees and landscaping will be planted when construction is finished on the new plaza. The project is still on track to be completed in January.
“Obviously inclement weather will impede progress but that’s part of construction,” Tucker said.
Other complaints about the construction have been that there is still is a lack of parking spots on campus. But Tucker says 180 new spots have been added to Foundation Hall, Crawford Hall, Southwest Hall and Matthews-Daniel with more spots coming to East Stadium. Tucker went on to say that a new West commuter lot is being designed as well as a restriping of spaces over fall break.
“I’m trying to think positively about it because it’s being made and it’s not a question of whether or not it’s being made,” said Holland.