Rest of campus under threat of being demolished
Photo collage by Adam Gibbard with CC
For the third consecutive year, sections of the University of Ottawa campus are under heavy construction, perfectly timed to align with the start of the fall academic session.
In front of the historic Tabaret Hall, and along the university’s Grande-Allée, workers and heavy machinery can be seen tearing up the land and chipping away at the university’s reputation as a place of sensible decision-making.
Heavy construction crews have also begun to move into other sections of the campus, as massive wrecking balls and noisy backhoes are poised to begin work as soon as students enter class.
Although the project has garnered criticism from some students for having started so late in August, university executives believe the added noise and inconvenience will enhance students’ studies and help them feel more safe on campus.
“Before all else, we took the interests and well-being of our students into consideration while discussing the renovation plans,” said Robert Builder, president of the Office of Risk Management at the U of O. “Could we have broken ground in May when most students weren’t on campus? Absolutely, but that wouldn’t have made any sense.”
University president Allan Rock said the renovations have proven to be so useful in improving student life that the administration is considering making similar projects a part of Vision 2020: Disrupting Life on Campus for Years to Come.
But despite the supposed academic benefits of conducting the work during the school year, some worry that the ever-expanding construction sites may not have left the best impression on new students during Frosh Week.
During 101 Week, Tabaret lawn is the go-to place for concerts, ice-breaking activities, key university services, and students looking to relax with friends. However, this year, its front lawn and several of its entrances were strictly off-limits.
“As a parent who just moved my child into residence, I’m still concerned with all this construction going on,” one anonymous mother told the Tomato. “Why, my little Jimmy might take a wrong turn one night, jump a security fence, and get severely injured. Not only would my baby boy be hurt, but it would be entirely the university’s fault.”
Despite these concerns, the renovation project is expected to intensify over the next couple of months. When a treasure trove of 19th century artifacts were unearthed a few weeks ago on Tabaret lawn, Builder was immediately commissioned to scour the rest of the campus for similarly valuable historical trinkets.
The university has since put out a statement saying that every building on campus will now be subject to immediate destruction should there be reason to believe more artifacts could be found. “
The discovery of artifacts represents a unique opportunity for an institution like ours that has such a rich heritage,” said Rock. “That said, I’ve given carte blanche to our contractors to demolish buildings as they see fit. It’s imperative that we recover any remnants of our history, no matter how much collateral damage we cause.”
This carte blanche for complete destruction even includes structures like FSS, even though the state-of-the-art social sciences building was completed barely two years ago.
The campus renovations are expected to be completed by the end of April, just in time for the summer holidays.