Construction outside Terrace nears completion

The ominous black walls surrounding the Terrace food court and MacDonald House residence have caused much speculation among Wilfrid Laurier University students.

Behind the walls, construction is taking place to improve the walkways and sets of stairs between the two buildings. The area was sectioned off as of January 2011, during the time of the Terrace food court expansion last year. This was done due to the difficulty of winter maintenance of the sloping pathways, which made the area unsafe for pedestrians.

“We made the decision that instead of doing something temporary and immediately re-doing it, we’d just close it off since there are other ways around there anyway,” said Mark Dettweiler, director of planning, design and construction in the physical resources department at WLU.

The purpose of the construction is to make the area more easily maintained during the winter season, as well as improving accessibility and visual appeal. Students will see more ramps, gardens and plantings upon the end of the project.

The construction is set to be finished by the end of November by contractor Stahle Construction Inc. According to Dettweiler, it is progressing according to schedule.

“There is some kind of perception that it’s behind schedule, but it was never scheduled to begin with until the fall,” said Dettweiler.

Work on the project did not begin until this past August, when funding became available. Approximately $200,000 has been allocated to the new walkways as per the WLU budget.

WLU students meanwhile have made use of the walls surrounding the construction site for campus club advertisement. Most recently the walls were decorated by Project Laurier’s “What do you want to be involved with?” campaign.

The construction does, however, pose a problem for first-year MacDonald House residents. Danielle Smith, a first-year MacDonald House resident, is awoken by the noise of the construction as early as 7:00 a.m. Similar complaints were voiced by resident Chris Petersen, who lives on the west end of the building’s third floor.

“It vibrates my bed. It’s literally right below me so it’s absolutely terrible,” said Petersen.

For these students, the construction means having to leave earlier for class as they must take a longer route around the blocked area. They are also unable to access the west-end door of their building, making the once-short walk to the Fred Nichols Campus Centre inconvenient.

Dettweiler is optimistic that these students will be relieved of the bothersome nature of the project in due time.

“Hopefully at the end of the month we’ll see all the fencing come down and we’ll open the area up again,” he said.

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