UC Riverside, like other college campuses, is constantly changing. Construction may seem to be never ending, yet it is necessary for universities to grow and repair outdated structures. Although the construction is needed, it can be inconvenient for those affected or displaced by it. With several UCR campus projects currently ongoing, some students have expressed concern about how the construction is negatively impacting them.
Eucalyptus Walk, the path between the Barn and Rivera Library, has been closed since December and is expected to reopen in May. Daneca Stevens, a project manager with Planning, Design and Construction stated that this pathway is one of the older ones on campus and has areas of broken concrete. Eucalyptus Walk has had minor repairs in previous years, but this is the first full replacement project.
The closure of this path, however, has since caused some students trouble in terms of accessibility when walking to and from Lot 30.
“They blocked off a whole section near Watkins … If you were already walking on that side, then you have to cross all the way across the grass area,” explained 3rd-year mechanical engineering major Zain Khan.
“Why do I have to walk all the way around to get to Lot 30 if I’m already by the Bell Tower? It reminds me of my first year when almost half the campus was under construction,” Khan continued.
The walk to Lot 30 is lengthy, and this closure, which will help in the long run, is currently making the trip longer for students who are questioning why the construction needed to take place during the academic year instead of during the summer.
The Eucalyptus Walk replacement is not the only project affecting students. The construction of the new health and counseling center broke ground in February at the site of Lot 21. The new building caused the size of Lot 21 to decrease by half thus reducing the amount of parking spots available to on-campus residents.
Parking access is already a concern of many students who struggle to find a parking space even while having a parking permit. The new health building being built on part of Lot 21 only increases the struggle students face when parking on campus.
Although this construction is bringing undesirable consequences for some students, UCR was recently recognized for two of its previous construction projects. This February, the campus was recognized by the city of Riverside’s annual beautification awards. Plant Research 1, a high-tech plant research space, won first place for Sustainable Design and Innovation. Glen Mor 2 Student Housing took first place for Maintenance of Existing Facilities and Landscaping.
While the current projects are providing the UCR community with more services and accessibility, the process can be lengthy and upset students who are disrupted by the construction and may have graduated by the time they are completed. Better communication or ways to counterbalance the negative effects of these projects would help students feel involved in the process and alleviate some of their concerns.