Welcome to UNCW: home of constant construction

Veronica Wernicke, Assistant Opinion Editor

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As someone who had not physically been on campus between December 2018 and August 2019 thanks to my semester abroad in the spring, I noticed a huge change in the progress and amount of construction at UNC Wilmington.

For better and for worse. 

A few of the major changes I noticed were the structures for the new apartments and dorms near Graham-Hewlett, most of the structure of Veteran’s Hall near Wagner Dining Hall, and the new extension K parking lot near the track field – and I am not a fan of the current, mainly my, parking situation.

In addition to these more obvious bits of construction going on around UNCW, there are currently 14 projects in progress. According to the Office of Facilities section on UNCW’s website, those projects include Veterans Hall, Parking Improvements Phase I (Lots 1A/1B), Parking Improvements Phase II (Lots 2A/2B), Performance Contracting, Outdoor Facilities Enhancement, Housing R&R (Belk, Graham, Hewlett Halls), Randall Library Life Safety/ADA/Restrooms Improvements, Indoor Hitting Facility, Greene Track Renovations and Improvements, Dobo Hall R&R, Outdoor Recreational Master Plan, Randall Library Renovation and Expansion, Dining Facility and Parking Deck II and Surface Lot.

Talk about a way to attract future students, UNCW. 

Between actually-planned and post-hurricane Florence construction, there are a lot of projects taking place on campus – all of which I am 100 percent over with. 

And according to a recent email sent out by Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli, on the first day of classes, there are talks of a new film department building. Yay, more construction that will not benefit me. 

Since my freshman year, I have described UNCW as a constant construction zone. Despite how much I love attending UNCW and think the campus is beautiful, all the construction eats away at that idea.  

There are several reasons why I am not the biggest advocate for all these construction projects. For instance, since I graduate next year, hardly any of these projects will be finished for me to actually benefit from, aside from a few of the parking lots. 

All this construction is a pain in the neck because it has affected the already annoying and inefficient problem of parking on campus by causing a shift in the current number of available spots – despite the fact that some of this construction is aimed to combat this issue.  

In addition to parking, construction has also affected the attractiveness and appeal of campus.

I remember taking my first tour of UNCW my junior year of high school and thinking what a beautiful campus it was. Now I do not have quite the same thought. Instead of an open and welcoming campus, the construction now gives UNCW a closed-off, noisy and dirty feeling due to all the noise, dirt, dust and machines that accompany it. 

The only saving grace I can think of is that at least I do not live on campus. Commuting to campus has saved me from having to constantly look and come into contact with all the construction. That is definitely a plus, but it might even out with the fact that I got stuck in the park and ride zone because of all the construction and incoming freshman class – lucky me.

Although, another bonus of the park and ride zone is that I do not have to worry about coming in direct contact with construction and its added traffic flow on campus. 

For the foreseeable future, and at the inconvenience of the students and staff, it seems UNCW will be under a severe amount of construction – lucky us.