Active construction sites are desirable for American universities — it shows the school’s wealth from donors and tuitions and it shows the school is growing at such a pace that it needs bigger, better facilities, but jumping feet-first into construction may mean students miss out on learning.
The University of North Texas is now planning numerous construction projects, focused on both expansion to accommodate an increasing student population and improvement of the older facilities on campus.
Built in 1970, the current CVAD building is outdated and struggles to accommodate UNT’s growing number of visual art students. In a meet and greet hosted by CVAD, the architects from Machado Silvetti, the firm designing the building, emphasized how “One College One Building” will be more durable than the current CVAD building.
While UNT does plan most construction projects for the summer when there are significantly less students, major projects, like the new CVAD building, have much less flexibility and displace entire departments of students during the long semesters.
Construction on classroom spaces also decreases the quality of the learning environment for students and professors. With noise being the most obvious side effect, construction on in-use buildings can bring a host of other problems too.
Parking lots may be partially or in whole closed to accommodate the work site. Safety becomes an issue when construction interrupts fire systems for a building or if previously-used dangerous building materials, like asbestos, is uncovered.
While construction is an overall positive thing for UNT’s campus, the quality of education in an under-construction space may be compromised.
The new CVAD building is projected to open fall 2018. Other major ongoing construction projects on campus include the new Track and Field complex, renovations to the Coliseum, the new Welcome Center, a new residence hall, a stand-alone dining hall, and renovations to Matthews Hall.