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Detour Construction Creates Obstacles for Students

By Sabrina Nuñez
On July 23, 2013

Altered landscapes await those who have taken a break from the university this summer as construction in preparation of UTEP's centennial is underway. Some projects will be completed by the start of the fall semester, others will remain under construction.

Greg McNicol, associate vice president of Business Affairs, said the centennial construction project remains on track and there have been no impacts to other building maintenance plans. 

"We are sequencing the work based on the logical order of getting the project completed," McNicol said.

Senior industrial engineering major, Jorge Villegas, who is taking summer classes, said the walk to class has doubled because of the construction and once he figured out a route, he stuck to it.

"The construction actually made it very difficult to get from one place to another. Not only is (the journey) longer, but you get lost on the way," Villegas said. "It's like a labyrinth in there. Know you're way, if not, don't even go in there or you'll get lost."

Junior nursing major Vanessa Herrera said her route to class has not been affected by the construction because she works by her class, located in the Health Sciences building.

"The only thing is for work, there's times where we have to deliver things to different buildings and in that case it does affect me because University Avenue is closed," Herrera said.

Herrera works at Professional and Public Programs and has received calls from parents asking how to maneuver around the construction.

"At work, we deal with parents. They drop off their kids for summer programs and stuff, and they are complaining as far as the construction and having to take a different route," Herrera said.

The larger projects, such as Centennial Plaza and those on Schuster Avenue, have been the sources of complaints.

"(We have had) minor complaints only. The On the Move communication committee has been proactive in addressing concerns and getting information out to all campus constituents," McNicol said.

McNicol said budgets are currently in line with the estimates.

"The initial budgets were structured around individual projects but as we have proceeded with the management of the center of campus (Centennial Plaza, Old Main and Leech Grove), we have not broken out these elements into separate units or segments," McNicol said.

Villegas said the most developed area he has seen is in front of the library, where construction began during the spring semester.

"Before there were some fences there along the way and it's not as big a mess as it used to be back in the spring semester," Villegas said. "The other areas, they look the same to me. I don't even see people there, and I go there in the morning so I would assume there would be someone there."

As of now, UTEP will remain a construction zone during the fall semester and into the spring semester. The completion date for all the projects is set for July 2014.

"They might take a little longer than what they said, but hopefully it will be done by the time they say it will be," Herrera said. "From what I see in the pictures, it looks nice so I'm hoping it will make it nicer and more attractive to other people because I've heard where people say UTEP's ugly, so I hope it will make it better."

McNicol said he encouraged students, faculty, staff and visitors to the university to bookmark the On the Move web site and to also follow the project on UTEP's Facebook page.

"These two forms of communication will keep them up to date with the latest developments. I would ask them to also work with us on this challenging project," McNicol said. "We realize it is changing the traditional pathways around the campus but please keep in mind how much safer the future pathways will be once this project is completed."

Sabrina Nuñez may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.


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