Truman’s construction projects look to improve campus facilities, but also come with notable inconveniences.
By Marc Prince, Staff News Editor
To pee, or not to pee…how long should I hold it? That’s a question crossing the minds of many Truman students and staff over the first month of the fall 2014 term. The campus is undergoing construction, facility enhancements and campus-wide visual improvements in key locations throughout the college. With temporary closures of restroom facilities and the campus fitness center as well as the continuing construction at the Wilson Ave. east entrance, frustration and concerns began to rise amongst students. “It’s really unprofessional that the powers that be decided to schedule fixes of this magnitude at such a crucial time of the year…”, said Daniel Voz, a first year student at Truman. “It really makes it harder for new full-time students to settle in.”
The seemingly least popular aspect of the makeover is the temporary closure of more than half the main building’s student restroom facilities. Thought the staff restrooms have been offered for students to use during construction, many feel the inconvenient sting of searching for the right one when they have to “go”. A custodial staff member (whom wishes to remain anonymous) recalls, “I see young men about to pass out by the time they get to the open bathrooms”. Scott Brigham, Truman College Director of Public Relations and Marketing, revealed that we are to expect a much cleaner, better lit and eye appealing unit of facilities. Each floor’s restrooms will be updated in pre-determined sections, rather than all at once. “They are working one quadrant at a time to modernize and rehab each restroom.”
The most noticeable work site appears in the campus main entrance. A new plaza is near completion and will not only give Truman a fresher look from the street, but finally contain an area outside that is specifically for students. The idea is to allow the college community a space for meeting, relaxing and studying that separate them from outside elements such as CTA traffic and loiterers. When asked about the concern for safety among students, Brigham explained that “There have been a lot of complaints and concerns that anyone could sit and loiter on the campus…now, you would actually have to be within campus bounds to sit.”
The east side main entrance will also receive an upgrade. The lobby will see a complete redesign to include new furnishings and artwork. The new additions also answer student inquires as to why they all were required new ID badges this year. A proxy card has been embedded into the badges that will allow students to enter through brand new turnstiles (ala’ Harold Washington College). The idea behind the change is to the possibility of non-enrolled intruders roaming the halls. This will also be the future process for entering the parking garage, though no specifics have been given on that project at this time.
The temporary closure of the athletic complex is, as Brigham says, nearly complete. With renovation currently exceeding its original date of completion, he promises that our patience will be rewarded. By spring the complex is expected to include HVAC air conditioning throughout. This, according to PR Director Brigham, will be the first time the building has ever had central air conditioning. Currently, there are new floors are being laid, topped with newly installed bleachers. The changes with the complex will also affect now near-defunct campus theater. It will be restored to full functionality for the first time in several years. Though, this will not be an extensive overhaul of the theater, new seating, carpets and a stage upgrade are a few of the amenities to should look forward to. All current renovations are scheduled to continue throughout the 2014-2015 term.