Campus Construction: Disruptive and Unnecessary


Yuri Kim/The Bates Student

While ultimately necessary, the renovation of Dana Chemistry Hall has proven somewhat disruptive to classes nearby.

Imagine this: you roll out of bed at 7am on a Tuesday, barely able to stay awake. You stumble around your room almost zombie-like with exhaustion as you turn on the light, put together a cute fall outfit, and chug some cold brew straight out of the bottle. Then you rush off to your three hour long 8am class. You arrive on the ground floor of Hedge, take your seat, and are barely conscious enough to participate in class. Does this feeling last? No, because in just a few moments, you’re jolted awake with a crashing sound just outside the window that lasts at least ten seconds, but feels like a lifetime.

I don’t have to imagine this, because I have experienced exactly this since the start of the semester. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, all of my classes are located in Hedge Hall. Inconveniently enough, Hedge is directly next to Dana Chemistry Hall, currently closed for renovations. These renovations are, as all of us have come to discover over the past few weeks, extremely noisy and distracting. Multiple times per class, my professors have to pause while teaching to wait for whatever mysterious loud banging noises are being made outside to stop. 

I’m not saying these renovations aren’t ultimately important and necessary. I think we can all agree that Dana could use an upgrade, but this process has become incredibly disruptive to campus life. Can we also consider the fact that we literally just got a new science building? We’ve got Bonney Science Center across the quad, filled with brand new state of the art labs and beautiful study areas. Across the street from Bonney, we also have Carnegie Science Center, and while it’s not perfect, it has plenty of adequate classroom space for STEM related subjects, and houses a planetarium and a greenhouse. Is the need for an increase in STEM related spaces and equipment on campus so great that nothing else deserves being improved?

What about other areas on campus that could use attention? The ceiling leaks in Schaeffer Theater, and the washers break down pretty much every week in Rand Hall. Starting this year, applied music lessons are no longer free to students who receive financial aid. There are plenty of avenues out there to improve campus that don’t require so much disruption. 

At a college where there is such an emphasis on developing the whole person and learning across subject areas, perhaps that should be reflected in the physical spaces and resources that Bates has to offer. As a student of the social sciences and the arts, and as a member of the campus community, I could rattle off a long list of improvements that could be made here that have no relation to STEM. Maybe it’s time for Bates to focus attention on something different, and quieter.