Walk this way; new construction not so convenient


Opinion editor Tracy Holmes poses in front of the gated-off Liberal Arts building during construction at American River College on Sept. 10, 2018. (Photo Illustration by Ashley Hayes-Stone)

Tracy Holmes

It’s the beginning of fall semester and everyone is back to the same routine at American River College, but wait, the construction …

The not-so-new construction that’s currently going on in the six subdivisions of the old Liberal Arts buildings will make way for the anticipated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM, building and is, at minimum, annoying, inconvenient and loud.

Still, we as a campus community need to be patient while the work is being finished, even though it’s hard to do so.

Cheryl Sears, the college’s Director of Administrative Services, explained via e-mail that this is an ongoing project.

“The construction has been in the planning phase for the past several years,” Sears wrote. “Some may think this is a new process, however there are many steps involved in demolishing a building and building a new one.”

Some may wonder why they couldn’t do the construction at night when classes aren’t in session, however it would then be a disruption to the residential area around ARC.

“Due to noise restrictions and labor agreements, most of the construction will be taking place during the day Monday – Friday,” Sears wrote.

Whether you are a new student or a returning student, the construction is problematic to campus life, irritating, and difficult to navigate. I was caught up going the wrong way and ended up walking all the way around the construction site instead of turning around to try and fight through the crowd. The signage is difficult to read and follow, especially for first semester students who do not know the campus well.

According to Sears, Campus Operations is taking suggestions from students and faculty on how to make the signage easier for students to follow. This has definitely been an issue this semester as I have been asked several times, more than usual, for help finding a place on campus.

The other hindering issue is the noise — I have overheard students complain about it. I have my own issues with loud sounds and I have to say the noise is unreasonably distracting. I wonder if this was considered when they started construction.

The operations staff tried to take all aspects of student life into account, according to Sears.

“For any type of accommodation that is needed, contact should be made with the college’s Disability Services and Programs for Students,” Sears wrote.

I suppose if you have all of your classes in one area and can park there, you won’t have an issue, but for the rest of us at ARC, this construction is not enjoyable or exciting and we must live with it until the STEM building is finished.

The Liberal Arts building was built in the 1960s and it’s sad to see it go but the STEM building is the future. The ARC Science department “produces 47 percent of ARCs graduates and is the largest in the Los Rios Community College District,” according to the STEM Center page on ARC’s website.

Change is the only constant. While construction is underway be considerate and mindful of your fellow students and staff. ARC is making an upgrade.