Long heralded as the “University of Summer Construction,” USC is once again living up to its name.
Fifty-one different construction projects, both on campus and in surrounding areas, have been scheduled for the summer, some of which began as early as May 16.
All projects are slated for completion before the beginning of the fall semester, with the exception of a remodel and building addition to the University Club into early 2012, according to USC Facilities Management Services.
The majority of the projects are utility and maintenance upgrades, but 24 classify as capital construction development projects — those that involve extensive groundbreaking, remodeling or renovating. As of press time, all construction is progressing on schedule.
“The summer schedule is always tight and we often push the envelope on what can be squeezed into that time frame,” said Joe Back, associate senior vice president for campus development and facilities management in an email. “Nevertheless, we treat the schedules for these projects as critical and expect to complete all of the projects on time.”
The largest single project on campus is the construction of the new John McKay Center next to Cromwell Field, said Back, followed by extensive underground utility replacement and paving on Childs Way. The two projects are also the most expensive.
Many of the large projects have been in the works for more than a year, according to Back. Despite the extensive preparations, some students still feel the need for greater transparency from FMS, which has released little information about the details of the various projects.
“I don’t really know what they’re doing,” said Anish Parekh, a junior majoring in kinesiology. “The only thing people really know is that there’s a lot of construction. Over on Watt [Way], no one knows what they’re doing there. It’s not hugely inconvenient, but I’d like to know what’s going on. It is my school.”
Though some students expressed frustration about the inconvenience the construction brings in getting to class, they agree summer is the best time for such undertakings.
“A lot of the roads are narrowed or blocked, you have to go through a lot of narrow passages while you’re on campus,” said Jeff Yamada, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering. “I think it’s pretty [necessary] though … they don’t do as much construction during the school year, this is just unfortunate for the students taking summer school.”
The administration, meanwhile, is focused on making sure those inconveniences don’t carry on into the fall semester.
“Anything can happen on a construction project, and it’s still very early, but as of now [all utility projects] are on time,” said Linda Chapital, communications manager for FMS. “We’ll work hard to keep [those projects] on schedule, because the bottom line is, we have to get it done before school starts. It’s got to be done.”
FMS would not release the total cost of the construction.