Construction and Concentration

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Darcy Anderson

Anyone who has been on campus has heard them: drills, hammers, and the beeping of tractors backing up. They beep through class, block your usual route, and makes you think if all these distractions are worth a better campus.

Whitt Hall is currently surrounded by a fence that blocks a common sidewalk between Davis and the main Young Hall entrance. Instead, students and faculty have to walk downstairs on one side and upstairs the other side or use Davis’ connection to Young Hall. Additionally, there is an entire driveway going through half of campus that gets the machinery to the building but blocks student paths. Heth Hall recently had fences put up around one side of the building (between Heth Hall and Russell Hall) to take out a tree and dig a hole next to Heth. You can see the construction site above. Next to the Bonnie, where the old Core, Communications, and other faculty offices were, is now an empty lot with a plastic fence around it. The downstairs of Porterfield Hall is undergoing renovations, making the old concert hall unavailable to many classes, fraternity and club meetings, and music therapy sessions.

I started looking for confirmative answers as to why construction was going on at these four locations. Porterfield Hall’s room was closed because mold grew in one of the basement rooms over the summer. The other three are not listed in the “2008-2018 Campus Master Plan” located on the Radford website nor under the “Constructions and Renovations” page for Radford. I tried looking in the Radford City records, but nothing mentioned these three spots. Finally, I looked at a website called “eVA: Virginia’s eProcurement Portal.” Here, Heth and Whitt Hall were mentioned in two separate forms sent in by Michele Thacker, a Virginia Construction Contracting Officer. According to Thacker an interior design project titled, “Category B Interior Design – Whitt Hall Renovation. The area beside the Bonnie now has a new sign saying it will be a faculty lot but I could not find any solid information confirming that or what the renovations for Heth or Whitt Halls will end up looking like.

Though construction is beneficial, it can be very distracting to students and faculty. In 2003, Stephen Stansfeld and Mark Matheson published an article in the British Medical Journal titled, “Noise pollution: non-auditory effects on health.” According to Stansfeld and Matheson, “The evidence for effects of environmental noise on health is strongest for annoyance, sleep and cognitive performance in adults and children. Occupational noise exposure also shows some association with raised blood pressure.”

Personally, I find this to be very true. I feel myself getting agitated trying to hear my professor’s voice over the constant beeping of a tractor. However, I also understand that buildings get old and worn down and need renovations. If it helps the university look better and last longer, I can try and focus harder.