Campus construction: Will it ever end?

It’s my first spring as a student here at the UW, and I’m loving it already. Of course there are the newly formed cherry blossoms, the few rays of sunshine slipping in through the clouds, and those big beautiful construction cranes spread out across the skyline.

Wait, what was the last one?

Those cranes definitely don’t belong in a description of my favorite things about spring, but unfortunately, they seem to be equally as prevalent around campus with the amount of construction taking place. Now is the time to put a halt to all of the projects on campus and enjoy the already-established parts here at the UW.

The first time I came to visit the university was over Memorial Day weekend in 2010, and while taking a guided tour of the campus with my family, my mom addressed the numerous construction sites, and said: “Universities always seem to be under construction.”

I’ve learned my mom was absolutely right. Construction products that either just started or have been under way during the academic year include: the HUB, Husky Stadium, the Ethnic Cultural Center, the UW Medical Center, as well as a few instructional buildings (such as the building next to Paccar) and a number of new residence halls.

One of the possibilities for this seemingly endless cycle of construction projects could be to entice prospective students with the promise of brand-new facilities. Who wouldn’t want to attend a respected university that could also promise you desks that have never been sat in before?

In theory, it would be nice to have a whole bunch of state-of-the-art buildings for just about every type of facility imaginable, but when will it stop? If new projects are started every single year — and with the more major projects such as the HUB or Husky Stadium still underway — there is the possibility the UW would never have a period where construction is not taking place. Never.

I’m fully aware that this piece could easily fall into the category of “First World Problems,” but think about it: No one can deny the UW has a beautiful campus. Set in an urban location, the Gothic architecture with Mt. Rainier in the background is breathtaking even on the rainiest, most miserable days of the year. The constant activity and noise coming from the construction sites simply distracts from the scenery the campus already has to offer.

And let’s face it, every single student or their families pays quite a hefty sum of money in the forms of tuition, housing, meal plans, or all of the above. Is it too much to ask to be able to enjoy the campus during my daily walks around it?

I fully understand the university has implemented this construction in order to update outdated facilities or build new ones to accommodate the growing size of the student population, both of which are issues that are probably never going to go away. I’m sure the desire to improve the UW is one that is strong among the Board of Regents as well as alumni, and for that we cannot blame them.

But all I’m saying is it would be really nice to not have to wake up to the sounds of a jackhammer rattling my brain around inside my skull at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. Just for a little bit.

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Tyler Hartung at


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