Upon returning to campus for the fall semester, students found that the construction of Union’s new library had begun. Construction crews brought in equipment and a large portion of the nearby parking lot had been fenced in.
The new library will be a capstone building on Union’s campus with nearly 54,000 square feet of individual and group study space, room for printed resources, computer labs, office space, a café and more. But until the new building is open and ready for use next fall, it is a large construction site in the middle of campus. The site takes up parking for Jennings Hall and creates dust and dirty pathways.
Jennings Hall hosts the music and communication arts departments as well as the School of Theology and Missions. Students and faculty from these academic disciplines that use the building on a regular basis said the abbreviated parking lot and blocked pathway is not affecting them greatly.
“I usually arrive pretty early to my office, so lots of parking spaces are still available,” said Mark Dubis, professor of biblical studies.
Steve Beverly, associate professor of communication arts, said the changes do not really affect him either.
“If the faculty lot is crowded, I just park further away,” Beverly said. “I like walking. As I see it, if I have to park further away, that just gives me more exercise.”
Beverly said everyone has to make sacrifices in order to make progress.
“When the end product is finished, I am certain we will see these inconveniences are minuscule compared to having a first-class library,” Beverly said.
Georgia Wellborn, professor of music, said she is not directly affected because she parks in a handicapped parking spot, but construction has created more dust and debris, which may be aggravating her allergies.
“That is a small, very small, price to pay for the new library that we have needed for at least 25 years,” Wellborn said. “This present inconvenience will pass, and in its place, we will have a beautiful new state-of-the-art library.”
Some students that frequently visit Jennings Hall find the fence reroutes them and they have a longer commute to class.
“Instead of just going in a straight line from my dorm in Hurt to Jennings, I have to go all the around to the back side of Jennings and go in on the right hand side, or I have to go all the way past (the Student Union Building) and around by the clock tower,” said Audrey Mitchell, sophomore biblical studies languages major. “I do not think the fence should be covering as much space as it is.”