By Staff Writer Ben Pfeffer.
I am sure everybody is aware of the new renovations that are going on, but in case there are a few people that don’t know, I will fill you individuals in first.
UMass Dartmouth has received a grant to build a $134 million building in lots 7, 7A, and 8. The construction is going to take approximately two years to fully complete and open.
The building will consist of two parts. One is a 267,500-square-foot housing development that is going to feature classrooms, multimedia and study lounges, wireless internet, two large lounges with demonstration kitchens, multimedia equipment and recreation space, according to southcoasttoday.com. This section will cost $107.8 million and the north portion will have “maker spaces” in an effort to promote collaborative work. The south portion will have rooms to practice music and will also have two computer learning commons.
The other, smaller portion of this massive construction project is a 38,000-square-foot student dining commons with a capacity of 800. This piece of the construction alone will cost $26.1 million to build.
This massive project is being done because of how outdated the campus is, specifically the freshman housing and The Marketplace, or “Res.”
The freshman housing that is currently being used has been standing for 45 years. Recently there was black mold growing in Maple Ridge, one of the dorms has already been shut down, Elmwood has showers where I would rather stand in the rain, and finally, the worst, Chestnut. Chestnut, allegedly, has had excrement coming out of the showerheads. New residence halls are necessary.
The Marketplace was built in 1977, 41 years ago, so it is bound to be outdated. Numbers back that up with one estimate putting the current users of The Marketplace at 3,200… it was built for a population of 1,600. For those who struggle with math, The Marketplace is currently at double the capacity of what it was built for.
I believe that Chancellor Johnson’s initiative to focus capital investment on the 710-acre campus and renovate and modernize academic buildings, the campus center, road infrastructure, and athletic facilities is a solid and necessary thing for the UMass Dartmouth community.
The idea to spend $134 million on a new dining hall and first year residence hall that will be completed two years from now will inevitably upset many upperclassmen.
By the time the project is finished in 2020, the upperclassmen will no longer be attending UMass Dartmouth, or if they are they only get to experience it for a short time. If I were an upperclassman I would be very against this renovation and prefer that they use the $134 million for something, or many things, that can happen within a year.
As a freshman, I like this new stirring of renovations and construction to make the campus better. Even though this specific renovation will not affect me until my Junior year, I appreciate and respect the modernization of UMass Dartmouth.
The creation of this new building, since it contains computer learning commons, classrooms, and study lounges, will be an interesting and probably necessary change by that point in my college career.
The downside to this construction project that I am hoping they fix is the parking issue.
The construction is going to occur on the largest combined parking lot on campus. It will cause commuters to have difficulty parking and possibly have to park and walk a long way. The attempt of building the building here is to make the residence halls and the whole facility closer to the center of campus, inside the ring road. I understand why the location is where it is, but if they get rid of parking, they need to have a suitable solution to fix it before they begin the project.
As much as I would like the school to take an unnoticeable amount out of that $134 million project to use on my tuition, I understand why it has to be the way it is but think it could have also been done in a more efficient way.