Campus construction: The everyday struggle of a college student


Jack Weaver

Construction workers inspect a gas leak at a construction site alone Rose Street in front of the Chemistry-Physics Building on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Kentucky Kernel

Delaney McGuire, Reporter

Within five minutes of stepping onto UK’s campus, you are most likely to be greeted by the sounds of heavy construction equipment and high-frequency power tools.

Construction has become a daily occurrence on campus, and with multiple buildings and walkways in production, students and faculty are now having to navigate alternative routes around the university.

As a newcomer on campus, the maneuvering required to get around has heavily impacted my experience. Underestimating the route changes was my first mistake, resulting in being late for my second day of class.

These projects have proven especially difficult for new students like me, who have to balance campus life for the first time while simultaneously avoiding the chaos on a day-to-day basis.

“The construction on campus is overwhelming,” freshman English major Caroline Kirtley said. “There is currently construction going on outside my building, Ball Hall, and there have been multiple instances where I’ll wake up at 3 a.m. to the sound of trucks or jackhammers. Can’t they start at a reasonable time?”

It’s not just underclassmen having a hard time maintaining their busy schedules amid this inconvenience. Many students and staff are all having to deal with the disruption of the construction in one way or another.

“It is very inconvenient, especially when I’m trying to get to class,” senior human nutrition major Maria Gonzalez said. “You never know if the pathways to your classes will change or be blocked off. I’ve been leaving earlier for class than I previously would have to arrive on time, especially since most of my classes are in Funkhouser.”

Funkhouser Building has proven especially difficult for students to navigate, including myself. Because the primary path is blocked, students and staff are constrained to alternative routes around the heavy construction.

In addition, many students have begun questioning the incentives behind these projects. Are they just for aesthetics?

“It’s all for appearances, ” freshman Bridan Braun said. “The Chemistry-Physics Building has undergone major construction on the outside, but the inside is decades old.”

Unfortunately, campus construction is not going away anytime soon. On Aug. 8, 2022, the university held a ceremony for the College of Design’s new home – the Gray Design Building. With a gift of $5.25 million from Gray Inc., the transformation has been scheduled for completion by the end of 2023, according to UKNow.

Many students have begun to question the benefits of these assemblies.

While I understand the benefits of campus construction and the idea of improved campus spaces, we have to consider the bigger picture. The funds directed towards these projects could be utilized more productively.

If more funds were administered towards funding school programs, student clubs, on-campus counseling services, etc., there would be a higher assortment of resources for both students and faculty on and off campus. This would allow everyone to receive the benefits from these funds in the present time.

In the meantime, as we all begin to get adjusted to this seemingly never-ending construction, we should strive to encourage change and growth around campus and continue to propose ideas that will positively impact student life.