Renovations along the stretch of Child’s Way from Watt Way to the Widney Alumni House were completed Tuesday, said Joe Back, Associate Senior Vice President for Campus Development and Facilities Management.
Along Child’s Way, there have been improvements made to the adjacent walkways and the parking lot between them to improve pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic.
Two gates were installed on both sides of the parking lot to control delivery truck traffic that had gotten out of control, Back said.
“They would go in there and really block the parking and everything would just shut down,” Back said. “People would be stuck in there — they couldn’t get in, they couldn’t get out.”
Cosmetic improvements, including landscaping and brick, were also an aspect of the construction project.
“This area on Child’s Way is where most of the guests that come to campus park, so we wanted to enhance that area,” Back said. “It was not really landscaped all that well. It didn’t look that attractive coming in there … We did a little extra landscaping to make it look better.”
Back said he could not disclose the cost of the construction but a USC News article reported that it totaled $2 million.
Some students, such as Joel Kropinski, said that money could have been spent on other things.
“I don’t even see why they did it,” said Kropinski, a senior majoring in cinema-television critical studies. “Is it such a big deal if a car comes in and out of here? I just don’t think a gate is a priority right now. [The money] could’ve been spent in other ways.”
Nick Simons, a senior majoring in business administration, said that aesthetic improvements to the campus should not be a priority right now.
“I think there has to be a better way for those funds to be allocated,” Simons said. “USC is one of the most beautiful campuses. We’ve done enough … They should be focusing on more tangible improvements for the students.”
Erica Shieh, a junior majoring in music industry, said that she would like to see money going to the students instead of the physical appearance of the campus.
“In this economy, it’s not practical,” Shieh said. “This money needs to go to students in form of scholarships and grants.”
Back said the project was not a spontaneous decision; the improvements were officially approved in September 2009.
“It’s a project that’s been discussed for a while,” Back said. “They really wanted to get that under control … It started as a real discussion about controlling the truck traffic in that area, but it evolved into more of an aesthetic enhancement as well.”
USC’s office of Capital Construction is planning other future projects, Back said.
“There are discussions about what we call ‘hardscapes,’” Back said. “Sidewalks and that sort of thing, hardscape and landscape improvements.”