When Dean of Students Anthony Campbell announced that two construction projects would take place on campus during the 2009-2010 school year, some students wondered what it would cost them. A few of these students asked this question during a meeting of the Student Government Association Senate. The Dean of Students told the Senate that students would not pay for the New Academic Building or the expansion of the Bart Luedeke Center theater.
This is a fact; the construction was largely funded through donations to Rider. Students did not contribute money unless they made a donation to the university during the fundraising period. During the 2010-2011 school year, however, it did cost them in other ways.
From the groundbreaking ceremony in 2010 to completion this summer, the construction was a talking point around campus. Every publication from press releases on the university website to countless inches of newsprint in this very paper discussed the various details of the construction. From the fact that the New Academic Building had a Leadership in Energy and Efficient Design Silver certification to the anticipated completion date, the construction became a hot topic on campus.
Yet it was more than just a conversation. The construction was its own era, a period of time that only the students who were on campus during that time would understand. The residents of the dormitories near the site got an early morning wake-up call. Everyday commuters and Kroner lot students dealt with construction vehicles in their parking lot. Walkways and roads were blocked at times and student groups had to find new venues. The entire Rider community paid at times through the inconvenience.
Many student organizations had to compete for available space on campus. The Green Film Series, Gender Studies Colloquium and several Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics events were held in Sweigart Auditorium, a small lecture room ill-suited for such events. Voices for Planned Parenthood held its annual showing of “The Vagina Monologues” in Science 201, a large hall meant for lectures, not plays.
The completion of the two construction projects this summer means that this year, the classroom crunch will be less of an issue with the addition of more rooms. The BLC theater has been expanded into a full auditorium complete with a lobby and an extensive backstage area, giving students a better venue for performances.
While these new opportunities are impressive, they did come at a cost to students. That price was not in dollars; it was mostly in time, noise, blocked walkways and trailing behind construction vehicles in the parking lots. The expanded theater and new building were necessary, so the growing pains that the Rider community experienced last year now seem worth it. A single school year of minor inconveniences seem a paltry sum for the benefits of the extended facilities available to Rider students this year and in the coming years.
– Jess Scanlon
Senior journalism major