Mercyhurst University is dedicated to completing the Ryan Hall by Aug. 1, 2018, despite the complaints raised by students living on campus. The construction noise is an 8 a.m. alarm for many students and has brought up additional student concerns regarding issues such as on campus parking.
Michayla Piatek, junior Social Work major, commented on the progress made by the construction crew since the beginning of the semester. She described the piles of dirt that were present at the beginning of the semester as an eyesore. With the building beginning to form, however, the view has improved considerably.
“It is annoying to wake up to, but in the beginning it was a lot louder than it is now,” said Piatek. “(It’s) great to see the progress.”
Hope Lowry, senior Social Work major and a commuter, cited that her main concern with the construction is the “already limited parking on campus.” Several parking lots were lost once construction began. Road work on Briggs Avenue and Lewis Avenue has further complicated matters, creating an inconvenience when going to and from campus, especially as a commuter.
The roads closing have become almost a weekly occurrence and students have said the closures are difficult to plan around, as no one is informed a head of time.
Some students have woken up to their entire apartments shaking, especially if they are closer to the construction.
Both Piatek and Lowry questioned the university’s choice to make the new housing open exclusively to sophomores, especially with the current housing shortage.
Megan McKenna, director of Residence Life, commented on some of the difficulties that were first encountered in the construction. Ryan Hall will sit lower than the original apartments.
“In the beginning of the year especially, it was digging down further into the ground where the initial six buildings were, pushing that out and removing that dirt,” McKenna said.
McKenna empathized with students, as she has personal experience living near construction. She admitted that “it is never pleasant,” but emphasized the need to focus on the fact that Mercyhurst has tried to communicate with the construction company about the start and end times of work and regulate it to minimize the community disturbance.
“The cool thing is that the students are a part of the process, although it doesn’t seem like it,” McKenna said.
“Handfuls of years from now, they come back and see a building that they saw being developed.”
Although students living through the noise of the construction will not be able to live in Ryan Hall, McKenna did mention that the there is a plan to slowly update upperclassmen housing options. New furniture is slowly being added for the short-term solution, and the long-term plan is to redevelop more of the upperclassmen housing, providing more options.
Part of the reason Ryan Hall will be limited to sophomores is the fact that different years will have different programs and levels of independence, as well as the original plans for the campus.
“For the most part, it is the way the campus was originally designed,” McKenna said.
As the floors and ceilings of Ryan Hall are developed and the days get colder, the construction crew will move the work inside to work on the interior and hopefully quiet down somewhat.
McKenna urged students to reach out to a member of the Residence Life staff “if students are experiencing some concerns with the level of noise or if anything seems out of the ordinary.”
If McKenna is unable to fix the problem, she will at the least explain why the issue is occurring and keep the students informed.