Construction on campus is ruining the college experience


Construction takes place around Memorial Hall. Photo by Sarah Ladd

Kellsie Kennedy

I came to UK’s campus in the fall of 2015. I lived in dorms that even sophomores did not recognize. I watched as new dorms, restaurants and classrooms popped up around campus. Now having spent two years living on campus, I barely recognize my university, as if it were a long-lost friend who went overboard with plastic surgery.

I choke on dust as I ride my bike to class. Heat burns my face, reflecting off a ridiculous amount of concrete. No trees or even scrubs frame large portions of sidewalk. Campus has fallen into a gross, gray mess.

For those who will be on campus in the future, this massive construction overhaul can be exciting. UK English professor Andy Doolen, for example, said that he thinks the construction will be beneficial for future generations of students.

“I think the way in which they have integrated living spaces with learning spaces is really important…to have a space where people can socialize and come together on campus is a big part of the identity of campus,” he said. 

As a freshman, I had one of my classes down the hall from the dorm. And yes, I showed up with a cup of tea while sporting my polka-dotted slippers. This convenience helped my irresponsible and unorganized self ease into the idea of being in college. My dorm also had great side rooms to meet friends to study. My room even had carpet like a bonafide adult. These benefits are fair points to consider when looking at the future of campus, so perhaps a compromise would have been best.

UK currently has four major projects lists on its website. It seems that a large amount of hassle could have been spared for UK students and faculty if construction had been spread out more. For those of us graduating within the next year or so, we will not have experienced a campus that was not constantly ripped apart. We have faced all the cons of construction and none of the benefits. 

I see many buildings sitting empty. I see my engineering friends enjoying state-of-the-art facilities while my follow English majors and I are stuck semester after semester in the basement of Patterson Office Tower. Perhaps UK should have also considered renovating buildings while constructing new ones. 

Regardless, when construction is finished, UK will have a campus much more suited to the needs of its students than it has ever had before. In the future, UK should consider renovating and limiting the number of ongoing construction projects to ensure the comfort of its current students.