Construction on the Ole Miss campus is a pressing issue for students. Though the renovations and new facilities are beneficial in the long run, many students struggle with construction-altered routines throughout the day. Whether it’s driving down Old Taylor Road or walking to and from class on campus, construction is a part of UM students’ lives.
One of the many students concerned with constant campus construction is junior accounting major Bruce Senter.
Senter, 21, of New Orleans said he decided to attend Ole Miss for the academics and the inviting atmosphere.
“What I love most about Ole Miss is the small school feeling at a big university,” Senter said. “There’s just something about the atmosphere and the people that makes you feel right at home.”
Consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful campuses in America, UM is known for its Civil War era buildings and its vibrant greenery. However, Senter agrees that renovations must be done to help preserve this image.
“Because we are ranked so highly amongst college campuses, I believe it is extremely important for us to renovate in order to stay on top,” Senter said. “Obviously, with those renovations comes large amounts of construction. With it all happening at once, it can be a little frustrating, and I do wish it could somehow be planned over the summer or winter breaks.”
Senter is not alone in his frustration. Many students have expressed concern for the construction sites along major roads like Grove Loop and Sorority Row.
Dylon Pennick, 20, of Fort Worth, said his daily routine walking to and from class has been altered by construction.
“Sometimes the construction sites will block off sidewalks on busy campus roads,” the sophomore managerial finance major said. “Students not having accessibility to sidewalks to walk to and from class is a major frustration that I think many of us deal with daily.”
Though students are frustrated at times, they understand the significance of renovating. Senter said he is hopeful for the lasting impact construction will have on this campus.
“I know that all of this frustration of constant construction will be worth the new and improved facilities we’ll have in the next year or so,” he said.
One major renovation taking place on campus is the Student Union renovation, which has led to the closure of most on-campus restaurants like Subway and Qdoba. According to the UM website, renovations began in summer 2014 and are expected to cost over $50 million.
“The project will be handled in phases over about four years, which should minimize disruption,” the UM website states. “The bookstore and food court inside the Student Union will remain open throughout construction.”
After the full closure of the Student Union for the 2017 spring semester, some students changed their daily routines. Sophomore UM Ambassador Amelia DeWitt, of Alexandria, Louisiana, said renovations have altered spring campus tours, but have not made them unmanageable.
“The construction of the Ole Miss Student Union has altered the route slightly,” DeWitt said. “During a tour, ambassadors would usually take visiting students and families inside to see the bookstore or the food court, etc. … With the Union being closed, ambassadors can no longer take visitors inside.”
The nursing major, 20, said there are benefits of the renovations.
“It is a great opportunity for prospective students to see the future of the Student Union and how its expansion and renovation will impact the campus and ultimately benefit the student body,” she said.
DeWitt gives one to two tours a week to prospective students and their families. Though many students on campus view the constant construction with a negative outlook, DeWitt has a different perspective.
“From my experience as an ambassador, I think the construction on campus affects prospective students in a positive way,” DeWitt said. “For visitors to see the university constantly renovating, constructing, and accommodating is very encouraging. It is another example of the overwhelming amount of love and care that people have for this campus and community.”
For more information on campus renovations and construction, you can visit the UM website or keep up with “UM Today Daily Edition” for daily updates on road closures or emergency alerts.