Working in TU’s Construction Services department, I spend a lot of time out on campus. On occasion when I’m walking to one of our work sites I overhear passersby muttering at the walkways, saying something to the tune of “Who sets up all of those detours on campus? What are they doing? They just want to inconvenience everyone and make students and faculty late for class, and staff late for work.”
For most of TU’s history, the detours we are experiencing today didn’t exist. But then a new wave of campus growth hit, and construction was necessary to accommodate our growing population. First we constructed the College of Liberal Arts building and there were detours around University Avenue and the surrounding walkways. Next it was Freedom Square Plaza and the detours around the academic core as new walkways were built. Then came the new campus gateway and detours around the University Union and Burdick Hall. As if that wasn’t enough, there was a detour along the walkway from University Union’s east plaza to the Glen pedestrian bridge. To some, it seemed like a conspiracy to get people lost.
Well, I know who is responsible for the detours and I can assure you that they’re not a plot to disrupt the campus social order!! It’s our team in Construction Services that is responsible for the detours, which are an unfortunate inevitability of constructing new buildings, bridges and walkways. With tens of thousands of students, faculty, staff and visitors on TU’s campus, nothing can be constructed without it getting in someone’s way. Detours are necessary to get these people to their destinations safely. As they say, it’s the nature of the beast—kind of like those pesky fire drills we all go through. No one likes going outside unexpectedly on a cold winter’s day, but we do it to maintain campus safety.
Although it may not be apparent to you, our team members try their very best to make construction detours as convenient as possible for the entire campus community. A great deal of planning goes into each facilities project to minimize the inconvenience of detours, make accommodations for wheelchair users and post signage and other communications to notify the campus of upcoming closures and detours.
For the most part, the campus takes construction inconveniences in stride and we really appreciate that. So while there is bound to be the occasional case of someone saying “What are they doing,” I assure you that campus construction detours are done in the interest of safety and convenience to all. Thanks to everyone for their cooperation and understanding as we grow into 2012, and have a safe and happy new year!