Construction creates new obstacles for students

Students navigate around the construction site as they head to class. The fences around the site are a major obstacle to students getting to class on time if they don't know where to go (Kaitlyn Johnson / The Signpost)

Students navigate around the construction site as they head to class. The fences around the site are a major obstacle to students getting to class on time if they don’t know where to go. (Kaitlyn Johnson / The Signpost)

On the first day of class the Weber State University Student Association (WSUSA) Senate held their first meeting.

In this first meeting of the semester, two senators expressed that their constituents had contacted them in relation to students having problems navigating around the construction site.

Tyler Hall, the senator from Davis campus, said students were used to cutting through the back side of Elizabeth Hall.

“You don’t realize that you have to go all the way out to the street,” Hall said.

His suggestion would be to put up some signs or get more information out to students about the best path to take around the construction site.

Hall said there is no way to know that the parking lot behind Elizabeth Hall is basically closed off without walking all the way around the construction site. His opinions about signs being used to direct people are pessimistic.

“Who’s going to do it?” Hall asked.

Students have cited problems with getting to class on time.

Shelly Barker, a microbiology student at WSU posted on the nontraditional students’ Facebook page and said she was considering dropping a class for the first time ever, due to her professor not letting her be late in regards to the extra time it takes to get from Lind Lecture Hall to Elizabeth Hall.

She said with the north side of Elizabeth Hall cut off from pedestrian access, students are now forced to go all the way around the Union building or all the way around the parking lot.

“What if my teacher goes a few minutes over, then even booking it to the Elizabeth Hall I could still be late and have my grade docked,” Barker said.

She said that when she tried to talk to her professor after class, he stated that she just needed to figure how long it was going to take her to get to class and plan accordingly.

Communications professor Mark Merkley defended his position by stating that he needs to start his lectures on time so students can be out of class on time.

“Why should I amend the rules for one or two people?” Merkley asked.

He added that a student should plan their schedule around how long it takes to get from building to building, adding that he can’t hold up his lectures due to construction.

Barker said she will now drop the class since she doesn’t need it for her major.

“I’m lucky that I don’t need it, but I worry about students who do need classes to graduate,” she said.

Barker added that she feared the problem could get worse when the winter brings rain and snow. She also said she understands a professor being mad if it was 15 to 20 minutes late, but that she only wants a few minute window due the construction.

Jeff Hurst, the dean of students said he thinks the problem will sort itself out once students get used to the construction and find the best path to their classes.

“Ten minutes is probably enough to get from each end of the university,” Hurst said.

Melissa Reese, the senator for students with disabilities, also stood up in the WSUSA senate meeting and said she had heard from constituents about difficulties getting through the construction site.

Don Guthrie, the director of students with disabilities said he had not heard of issues with students in wheelchairs getting around.

“There are plenty of alternative routes around campus,” Guthrie said.

He added that if there is a problem he needs to know about it in order to take action. If a student with a disability was having a problem they need to report to Disability Services in room 181 of the Student Services building, so appropriate action can be taken.

The construction is for the new Tracy A. Hall Science Center was approved last year. The science center is expected to be finished in time for fall semester 2016.

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