The new year of 2016 comes with a promise of an abundance of inconvenience on Roanoke College’s campus. Jan. 13, marks when Roanoke College Students were made aware that the stairs leading from New Hall and CAR to the Colket center, where students eat, were to be closed off for the remainder of the spring semester. Mind you the semester didn’t start until Jan. 18.
Mark Noftsinger, the Vice President of Business Affairs at RC sent out this email to students, faculty, and staff stating that the stairs were to be blocked off due to work that is needed to be done in order to complete the ominous construction of Cregger Center. While the email was short and sweet and only stated the stairs would be closed, nowhere does it say that in addition to the stairs, half of the side walk in front of New Hall would be closed, that the parking lot sections would still be blocked off, and they would essentially block the sidewalk to the side door of Bast.
For the students in New Hall and CAR, the side door to Bast is now the quickest life line to get to Colket Center in order to, say eat the food we pay thousands of dollars for, or go to events that our activity fees go to. Not only is this the quickest lifeline for Colket, but it is also the fastest way to be connected to any other part of campus. New Hall and CAR are now disconnected more than they ever have been from the rest of campus and it is ridiculous. The only reason the side door to Bast is not blocked is because I’m pretty sure that that would be a fire hazard, but for what it’s worth it is available to use.
This week I watched students walk through construction materials to get to their dorms in twenty degree weather. On Wednesday night, I watched freezing students slide down an icy brick path and across an icy parking lot where there was potential to fall on stacked concrete slabs. The fences were lying down; I followed the other students, and wondered if this path to Bast too would soon be blocked off? This parking lot section, while still technically closed off from students, provides the fastest way to get to Bast. So how about we not close that off again? The parking lot section is key here to minimize complaints. Even if the main entrance to Bast is available, it is an inconvenience to walk around and through an entire other building just to get to Back Quad of campus.
Normally, the side door of Bast is locked on weekends and late at night on weekdays. Recently an RC student posted on social media that after a late night of planning with a professor, they tried to walk through Bast to get back to CAR but the doors on the upper level of Bast were locked, and not even their cards would scan them in. Then what? In the middle of the night they had to walk through science quad, down Massengil stairs, and across to the dorms. Unnecessarily. Students in the two dorms might as well be considered off campus since they are now fenced off from the rest of campus and separated by an asphalt lake.
Students in the two dorms, and in Sections if we take into consideration the construction zone in whole, should receive something in return for the convenience. Students in CAR and New Hall are paying thousands of dollars to live in some of the nicest dorms on campus. Roanoke College has taken zero steps to accommodate students for the inconveniences caused and the problems that are arising. In fact students in these dorms did not get a cost reduction in any way. Roanoke has disregarded the students in many ways this year focusing solely on the supposed glories that Cregger will bring.
A cost reduction, or now refund, should have been the least Roanoke could have given students this year to make up for the banging sounds resonating at 6 and 7 in the morning, the disconnect from campus, and the sheer inconvenience of having to walk completely around the back of campus just to get on to campus. Most students would have been satisfied with just $500 taken off/back. It would have at least shown empathy and respect for us students.
I did not come to this school for our sports and a gym, I came to this school for the atmosphere and students, and half of that has been taken away. If this was my first two years at RC, I would have seriously considered leaving due to the lack of respect of students in this situation. We aren’t paying to walk through a parking lot or get run over by construction vehicles because the workers aren’t patient for students to walk bye.
The closing of the stairs and the construction for Cregger is expected to continue into the summer and my best guess is that will be WELL into the summer. Happy Spring 2016 everyone.