Arizona Summer Wildcat July 1, 1998
Coming Soon to a Campus Near You
Arizona Summer Wildcat
Jessica Lora can't escape it. Neither can Anina Hotey or Rupesh Amin.
Because no UA student will be left unaffected.
You could call it the University of Arizona's own version of "Armageddon," as the campus prepares for the Integrated Learning Center, a subterranean facility that will transform the Mall into an obstacle course during the coming months, with closed roads and detour signs dotting the green strip.
"I hate construction because it's everywhere-I can't get away from it," Lora said.
And she won't be able to anytime soon.
Construction of the $20 million center will tear up the Mall for 18 months. The library, Campus Health Center, and Flandrau Science Center will undergo parking complications as a result and be forced to tolerate noisy jack-hammers and dump-trucks.
"I don't think the traffic problems will affect me as much as the noise. It will be impossible not to hear it in the library," said Hotey, an undeclared graduate student.
The first stage of construction will begin in the next month with the creation of a temporary bike path and bus loop east of North Cherry Avenue, said Peter Dourlein, facilities design and construction project manager.
Between July 11 and Aug. 3, the Campus Health Center will get an alternate driveway and parking lot. Next, the sidewalk along the south side of the Modern Languages and Psychology buildings will be closed for utility improvements. Dourlein said pedestrians will face minor detours.
The biggest inconvenience will be the closure of Cherry from East University Boulevard to East Fourth Street this fall. Continuing construction will put Cherry out of commission for about three years.
And then there's the noise.
The noisier stage of construction was originally planned to begin in October, but will be held off until January 1999. For about six weeks, the Mall will become a battlefield-workers will dig up the area for the ILC around the clock, with loaded dump trucks pulling out every five minutes.
"The noise is mainly going to affect me in the library, if I can't concentrate," Lora said..
"One of the main reasons you go to the library is because it's a quiet place. It won't be too quiet with those trucks," said Amin, a biochemistry sophomore.
Terry Daniel, a psychology professor, agrees the noise will be an issue. However, he said he is more concerned about access to the Psychology building for patients. The patients come to the building for various labs and therapy centers, and the altered entrance may confuse them, he said.
And the Campus Health Center won't escape unscathed either. Patients will have to park between the Education building and Center for Disability Related Resources while workers lay utility lines.
Nina Daldrup, associate director of operations at Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, said she expects to see a considerable drop in attendance from the general public as a result of the construction. What concerns her most is the ability to use the telescope.
"The vibrations from the heavy equipment will have a dramatic effect on our capacity to operate the telescope," Daldrup said.
"If crews will be working at night, their light pollution will make it nearly impossible to view anything in the sky, There is also a great possibility of dust getting into the telescope."
Daldrup said closing the telescope down is a possibility but no decisions have yet been made.
Homecoming, tailgating and Spring Fling will also have to persevere through the construction.
"We're still planning on tailgating for football games, we'll just be a bit more cramped," said Heather Biemond, an intern working in marketing and promotions, administration and athletics.
The western 300 feet to the left of the visitors center and in front of the optical sciences building will not be available because of the construction. Biemond said the rest of McKale lawn will be used, including the mid-section of the UA Mall and Gittings lawn.
Dourlein said the construction will impact Homecoming events such as the parade.
"Contingency plans for possible relocation are in progress, however, no decisions have been made yet," he said.
Some students said they will miss the Mall as a familiar landmark of the university.
"One of the best things about campus is to look down at the mall. It won't be the same with the construction going on," said Andrew Edmonds, an undeclared sophomore.
Others say they believe the benefits of the ILC outweigh the inconveniences of the construction.
"I think the ILC is a really good idea," said Todd Yuhanick, a political science senior. "Every year I've been here, the UA has had some sort of construction. You can't expect them to build something quietly."
English Professor Roger Dahood said he will endure construction because it is a positive project.
"Construction noise is mostly background noise. It depends on where and when I teach class to say whether or not it is going to affect me," he said.
But sooner or later it will affect everybody.
The ILC is just the beginning of ongoing construction listed under the "Mall Enhancement Project." The Main Library, Student Union and McKale Center are next in line for improvements.
Better get used to that background noise.