THE UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA WELCOMES STUDENTS BACK WITH MULTIPLE CONSTRUCTION SITES
Two years have passed since the U of O’s campus has had any real commotion. That’s four whole terms which took place not in lecture halls, but inside of our homes. And, having walked through campus frequently over the last two years, I can confidently report that it was indeed a ghost town. Given this, these last two years may have seemed like a perfectly reasonable time to begin any necessary construction.
Unfortunately, it seems the University is not that reasonable.
There are several areas on the University’s campus which are certified construction zones. Outside Montpetit, the corner of King Edward and Laurier, and the STEM building all host ongoing construction from 9-5, Monday to Friday. Just in time for the long-anticipated return to campus!
I certainly understand there could be some worthwhile reasons for this delay. Labour and material shortages along with price hikes have complicated many construction projects since early 2020. However, this doesn’t mean I can’t be frustrated by the fact that jackhammers and loud beeps are drowning out my podcast. Or that dust and small rocks are constantly flying out of the construction sites, hitting students as they shuffle between classes.
The first-year students who have never spent time on campus might be impacted by this ongoing construction the worst. There are numerous areas on campus — Montpetit worst of all — which are closed off, forcing students to take roundabout ways to get across campus or to lectures. This will inevitably be a challenge to any student looking to get oriented with the University’s layout.
For instance, when walking through Montpetit to get to the gym, I spent far too long trying to navigate a building I’ve been in hundreds of times before. Blocked doors and sectioned off hallways lurk around every corner.
The outside areas are no better. The University of Ottawa normally has a beautiful campus — one that opens its arms to all students. However, the ongoing construction has butchered its good looks, making it appear more like a dangerous maze. Good lucking walking to the STEM complex without going through a cloud of dust or being hit in the ankle by clumps of rubble.
It seems the only respectable excuse for this construction is that there are necessary improvements which have been delayed due to labour shortages. Other explanations would just come off to reflect poor planning by the school.
There is a saying though — that short term pains makes for long term gains. And if this construction plans to abide by this mantra, then it could certainly be worthwhile for new and future students. Nevertheless, the campus construction is certainly a disappointing way to welcome students back to campus.