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EDITORIAL: University rushed in construction of The Commons

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EDITORIAL: University rushed in construction of The Commons

The Commons, the new residence hall which opened in August, is showing signs of rushed construction.

The Commons, the new residence hall which opened in August, is showing signs of rushed construction.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

The Commons, the new residence hall which opened in August, is showing signs of rushed construction.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

The Commons, the new residence hall which opened in August, is showing signs of rushed construction.

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Over 800 students moved into Marquette’s new $108 million residence hall in August. The Commons offers several state-of-the-art facilities, including a 24-hour dining hall, smart classrooms and study lounges on each floor, according to the university.

All of this was built in 22 months, which is faster than normal for a building of this size, said Lora Strigens, the vice president for planning and facilities management. The quick construction process is starting to show.

Strigens said projects of this size usually take about 24 months to complete. The Commons was a couple months short of meeting this standard, Strigens said. Marquette wanted The Commons to be available for students in the fall 2018 semester.

The Commons should serve as an example for Marquette. The university must be more realistic with deadlines for campus construction projects in the future.

Initially, students were excited to live in The Commons, but frustrations arose as problems were uncovered. In a recent article by the Marquette Wire, students shared concerns about the facilities shortly after move in. Paint was chipping from the walls when command hooks were removed, showers wouldn’t heat up, the mailroom remained inaccessible to students from keying errors and disorganization and there was a flood on the eighth floor.

Although Marquette aimed to provide students with an improved living experience in The Commons, the university’s failure to spend adequate time on the project left students disappointed.

On top of that, the students living in The Commons are paying more for standard double and single room types than any other residence hall. It is $13,650 per student per year to live in a standard double room in both of The Commons towers. A single room costs $14,140 a year. The only residence hall with a comparable cost for a double room is Humphrey Hall, with a “large double” available for $13,470 a year according to the 2018-19′ rate guide. 

A couple more months might have been enough time to install MarquetteCASH card readers in the laundry room, tighten pipes and prepare mail keys for students. It might have been enough time to properly install water heaters.

Even with the tight timeline, constructing a new residence hall shouldn’t equate to cutting corners to get the job done. Students should feel a sense of safety, comfort and security where they live. Everyone should be able to go home after a long day knowing they have a place to study, sleep and even simply use washing machines and avoid inconvenient leaks.

Especially for freshmen, the first weeks of college are an important adjustment period. Homework should be their biggest worry, not returning to their residence hall to discover what is broken, damaged or going wrong. Without a mailroom to receive packages, students undoubtedly stressed over missed textbook deliveries and care packages from home.

Key details in construction should be completed prior to the opening of a new residence hall. While small details — such as painting or seating in lobbies — may not be completed, construction components that will influence students’ quality of life should be.

In the future, Marquette should take more time to adequately plan out the necessary time needed for construction projects. There certainly will be some things that need to be fixed after students move in, but certain issues in The Commons were avoidable and could have been prevented with appropriate time and attention from the university during the construction process.

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