Wilkinson construction on hold until the summer

Ellie SherryReporter

After a few weeks of construction on the Wilkinson dorm building, and planned construction on the other straight-line dorms except for Farnham, construction will now be stopped until the summer of 2020. The construction on the buildings was originally planned due to corrosion underneath the majority of the window sills on the outside of the buildings.

Precautions were made prior to construction by putting privacy screens on the windows.

“There was something that is only best described as an unforeseen issue, in that there was concrete under the bricks that we didn’t know about,” said Associate Vice President of Capital Budgeting and Facilities Operations, Robert Sheely.

“That’s why there was so much noise, because they had to chip away the concrete.”

During the construction, both campus facilities and Residence Life received numerous complaints about the noise.

“When we started to hear about how loud it was, we went over to Wilkinson and found that it was actually very noisy,” said head of Residence Life Robert DeMezzo. “We had someone go out and test the noise and measure the decibel level of the construction, and they found it to be unreasonably high.”

When they realized how loud the level of sound was from the construction they offered students ear plugs to try to allow construction to continue. However, the ear plugs were inadequate for the students as they did not block out all of the sound.

According to DeMezzo, along with the noise level, there were also some instances of dust blowing into rooms if they had their windows open.

“The construction is really loud to the point where I can’t even hear myself, I think, half the time,” said Mahogany Silva, a resident adviser. “It is so frustrating being on the phone, and, honestly, there is no such thing as afternoon naps anymore. When I wake up in the morning there are people outside my window; it really is obnoxious even though I understand that they are trying to fix things.”

After an attempted solution with the ear plugs, DeMezzo
decided to shut down the multi-million dollar construction contract temporarily. They decided that it would be best to finish the front of Wilkinson, and then wait until the summer to do the rest of the work when there are not students living in the buildings.

According to an email sent out to the residents of Wilkinson, the construction on the front of the building should be completed by Nov. 12, if the weather permits it. Part of the reason the project takes such a long time is because the buildings cannot be worked on when there is any sort of precipitation. If they were to continue work during rain or snow, moisture would get stuck behind the bricks causing more issues.

“We want to apologize to the students,” said Sheeley. “We didn’t realize how loud it would be. Our students come first, and I really do mean that.”

Photo credit: Izzy Manzo

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