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October 13, 2000 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-10-13

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14 -T he Michigan Daily - Friday, Octo ber 13, 2000

FRIDAY Focus

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CONSTfRUCTflON
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I-%.- I - - 11 .1

hen Au nn tur n
Unive si :Iy '- is w ke e a nt
for Wmecominh man
will find a va:t y different camnuy
thai~n the one they remember. WXVe
.alumni may not mn othly maneu 'r
Ann Arbor's one way streets they
may become the muost disoriented
when they st rol thrrough a nr
Chain-link fences now surround several build-
ings, including the Angell-Mason-Haven lail
cotlhplex and the Burton Memorial Bell Tower.
Major construction has begun on Palmer Drive Ibr
the new Life Sciences Institute, Science Instruc-
tiOn Center and Commons Building.
While University administrators and faculty
express excitement over the new projects, and the
numerous campus renovations, many students
h'ave expressed their discontent.
Certainly, construction is an inevitable process.,
epecially for an educational institution where
research facilities are expected to be on the cutting
edge. But students still wonder about the timing of
these projects, and if they will ever be able to reap
the benefits of the work, during their short time at
the University.
Master Plan
Some of the most visible changes to the Univer-
sity's campus were either conceived or completed
during the administration of former University
President James Duderstadt.
These projects include the completion of the
$22 million Randall Physics Research Laboratory
and the beginning construction of the present
School of Social Work building in 1995. The
social work building was finished and formally
dedicated in 1998. Construction for the.Media
Union on North Campus began in 1994 and was
completed just two years later for about $40 mil-
tion.
To assess the effects of these existing projects
aind what might occur under his tenure, University
Preident Lee Bollinger proposed the development
of a "master plan" for the University in October
1997, just a few months afier his inauguration.
The idea, he said, was to "conceive of our cam-
pus as a whole," rather than continue planning
campus by ecampus. By the time Bollinger

assumed office, the campus had spread to the
northeast end of Ann Arbor in the form of Ply-
mouth Road medical campus out past U.S. 23, and
to the southern edge of State Street with the
administrative offices and medical clinics near Bri-
arwood Mall.
The construction of the Life Sciences Institute is
the latest part of the master plan to come to
fruition.
Bollinger also said he wanted to develop a mas-
ter plan that would "look at things for the future -
for a hundred years from now - to consider what
our University campus might be like, what its
character should be."
Bollinger brought in internationally-recognized
architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown
to analyze and dissect the campus, with the ulti-
mate goal of unifying the sections physically and
integrating them with the surrounding city.
Big Bucks
Three years and millions of dollars later, the
University is undergoing a new wave of construc-
tion. But, aside from the Life Sciences Institute,
many of the projects students are seeing now are
renovations of existing buildings.
Facilities and Operations spokeswoman Diane
Brown said the projects are funded in a variety of
ways. She said that many of the new buildings are
funded by private donations and that state capitol
is a large source of the revenue.
University Vice President for Development
Susan Feagin said some of the money raised
through the University's telefund drive could be
used for the work.
"Money raised through the telefund process is
generally very important, unrestricted support for
the deans, Feagin said. "Because it is unrestricted,
deans might choose to allocate it toward renova-
tions, for example, but we do not solicit those
funds for specific purposes."
The bulk of the new construction will be in the
Hill area, where the Life Sciences Initiative will be
located. More than $200 million
has been committed to the LSI, "If we d
which administrators hope to
complete by 2003.
The LSI will be composed of
three major structures, including and rent
the Science Instruction Center
Building. The project, which is maintai
estimated to cost about $36 mil-
lion to build, is intended to pro- apart."
vide teaching and research space
for a number of science pro-
grams. Facility and Ope
Rounding out the number of
new structures in this area will be the addition of
the Palmer Drive Commons Building. The $32
million project is planned to house a number of
facilities, including offices for the Central Power
Plant and a satellite office for the Department of
Public Safety.
Welcome to Alcatraz
Renovations affect every student with classes in
Angell and Mason Halls. The effects are especial-
ly inconvenient when students moving between
Mason Hall and the Angell Hall auditoriums find
themselves in a human traffic jam.
With the connector between Angell and Mason
closed off, students moving between the lower part
of the Fishbowl and Mason Hall funnel through a
wheelchair access ramp, backing up traffic.
"It's like we're a herd of cattle," LSA sopho-
more Lindsey Scrase said.
With the wheelchair ramp being used as the pri-
mary detour, some students wonder how handi-
capped students can get through during busy
times.
"The detour really gets congested going through
there," said LSA senior Andrenise Merritt. "I'd
hate to be in a wheelchair."
Brown said the University has not received
comments regarding wheelchair inaccessibility.
While access is a problem for students, no com-
ponent of the construction has generated as many

The southwest entry to the Diag, between Haven Hall and the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, has been turned into a construction site.

10
DI
1,
era

complaints as the fences, which will remain on
campus until the renovations are complete in 2003.
"You feel like a mouse because there are all
these fences" LSA freshman Katie Parish said.
"I think it's sad that they haven't done anything
to protect the grass where students are walking,"
Kinesiology senior Toby Scott said.
Brown said the University is investigating ways
to preserve the walking areas and "we'll have
some major landscaping projects once the con-
struction is completed."
Good for the long run
While Brown conceded that the renovations
have caused inconveniences to the University
community, she. points out that the construction
cannot be put off forever to
accommodate students.
"Construction and reno-
to build vation programs will never
stop," she said. "They never
v ate and will if you want to maintain
a vibrant institution."
We'I/ fall The problem, she contin-
ued, is that "now there are
much more visible projects
that just happen to be where
- Diane Brown a majority of students hap-
ations spokeswoman pen to be."
More importantly, Brown
said, the renovations are necessary and will ultimate-
ly benefit the students.
"In order for us to maintain our buildings there's
a certain amount of upgrade and maintenance that
needs to be done" Brown said.
In a presentation made earlier this year to the
Michigan Student Assembly, Hank Baier, associ-
ate vice president for University Facilities and
Operations, said the administration is certainly
sensitive to student concerns.
"We'll try to be courteous, butthere will also be
times when we cannot totally control what goes
on," Baier said. "We'll do the best we can and try
to accommodate" students.
"It's frustrating but it's just like any other part of
your normal college experience," MSA Vice Presi-
dent Jim Secreto said. "Construction will always
happen and unfortunately only freshmen and sopho-
mores will be able to realize the benefit of doing it.
In the long run, students will see direct effects. It's
going to be beautiful when they're done."
Brown said the construction is necessary so
the University can remain at the head of the
pack.
"If we don't continue to build and renovate
and maintain, we'll fall apart. In order to be a
leader in high education, we need to provide the
facilities and infrastructure to support the out-
standing education and research that takes place
here," Brown said.

0w

ABOVE: Students are forced to maneuver through
the handicapped ramp due to renovations in Mason
and Haven halls.
BELOW: A prankster likens Mason Hall, with its
myriad of chain-link fences, to the famous prison.

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