Construction has been a prevalent sight at Sam Houston State University for the past few semesters, with a project on just about every corner. Construction brings countless pros and cons, and recently, Bearkats have only seen the negative factors.
A survey on The Houstonian Twitter page consisting of 77 participants had results of 23 percent in favor of the new developments on campus, and 77 percent against the construction. A simple search of “SHSU construction” on Twitter provides countless amount of Tweets complaining about the effects construction is having on students’ lives. Nearly every comment heard about construction on campus is negative. The frustrations are understandable.
Are you happy with amount/type of construction on campus right now?
— The Houstonian (@HoustonianNews) August 24, 2017
“I’m glad they’re taking steps to improve the campus,” junior Criminal Justice major Chelsi Lamberton said. “But I don’t think it benefits anyone to have so many different projects going on at once.”
One of the major grievances Bearkats have is that there seems to be no escape from the construction. So many projects going on at once leads to an appearance of destruction, rather than construction.
However, Dean of Students John Yarabeck provides the university’s perspective on the purpose of the construction.
“There’s more people wanting more things,” Yarabeck said, in reference to the drastic amount of growth SHSU has seen recently.
According to the“Kat Facts” page on the SHSU website, SHSU is the 12 largest university in Texas. In addition, The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Fastest Growing Colleges 2003-2013” report ranked SHSU 14 among the nation. SHSU has had to make accommodations in order to keep up with its rapid growth.
“When you have growth like that, you’re going to outgrow yourself,” Yarabeck said.
Because SHSU has previously been known as a smaller school, it was built right in the middle of town. While the town has grown around the campus, it makes it more difficult for the school to build outward.
“Given the fact we don’t have a lot of space to use, we have to be creative about it,” Yarabeck said.
Yarabeck also pointed out that construction is almost an ongoing thing on any growing campus.
One of the other main concerns, which has been an ongoing problem at SHSU, is the parking issue. Junior Pre-Med major Paige Spillman elaborated on these frustrations.
“I understand it needs to be done, but it’s being done at the worst possible time,” Spillman said. “It’s the fall semester, and when you’re shutting down some of the main parking lots on campus, it really sucks.”
SHSU: There's two weeks left before finals.
— Allan Cole (@heytrio) April 26, 2017
Students are frustrated that parking lots are being closed, usually to house construction vehicles and workers. With parking as limited as it already is, this has been a main concern for our students.
Yarabeck ensures that there are plans in place for parking. There are multiple projects in the process right now, and it seems that patience is key. The issue of parking being too far away probably will never be solved, as there is only so much room to add parking lots. However, perhaps the campus could consider the costs of including a shuttle from more remote parking lots.
Another key problem students have with the construction is that the projects were chosen by Bearkats several years ago, many of which have already graduated. These projects also have far-out projected end dates, meaning the students that have to deal with construction now may not even get to see the benefits themselves. However, some students have seen the benefits of past Bearkats’ struggles with construction. It takes time to build things, so students may not always see the results in our time. However, improvement for the campus as a whole should be something that’s strived for.
Dear SHSU please stop spending my tuition money on freaking construction and spend it on something that's going to be beneficial
— Geologist Maddie⛰ (@maddie_madds) April 5, 2017
Some students’ main concern is that the construction is causing traffic and shutting roads down.
“It made me late walking from my apartment because I didn’t know that my path would be closed,” senior Education major Carson Lesperance said.
If there's two things i'm dreading in the morning it's parking & construction #SHSU
— James Garrett (@HardingGarrett) August 23, 2017
Yarabeck and the entirety of the university understand students’ frustrations. They know that construction is a huge hassle, and it makes things more difficult. However, they seem to have reasons for everything they are doing.
Perhaps the way students can improve from here is working to have better communication with the university. A lot of Bearkats feel as if they are being left out of the loop, often wondering what is going on. If Bearkats can just look past the construction for the time being, Yarabeck says that their goal is to provide “current, cutting edge, good programs the students want, and meet their needs the best as we can.”