Seneca noise a rude awakening

While the college welcomes the addition of Seneca Hall, some students have had to suffer through the inconveniences of its construction.

Students living in Genesee and Ontario residence halls and in nearby apartments have been affected by the noise caused by the construction.

"[The construction] eliminates the need for an alarm clock," said sophomore Genesee resident Joey Sinchak, referring to the loud construction work that begins early in the morning.

Another Genesee resident, sophomore Matt Deleva, was equally unhappy.

"It's a distraction when I'm trying to study and annoying when I'm trying to nap," he said.

Students living as far away as Ambassador Apartments across Court Street have been disturbed by the noise.

"Really early in the morning around 7 a.m. there's some machine that starts banging loudly," said junior Nick Haanschoten, an Ambassador resident. "I'm able to shut my window and turn on a fan or something, but I can't imagine living right beside it."

According to Dean of Residential Living Celia Easton, Residence Life has not had a large number of complaints about construction noise. She said that any complaints that Residence Life heard were forwarded to Facilities Planning, the college department in charge of the project.

Director of Facilities Planning and Construction Jeff Kaplan said that he also has not received a large number of complaints.

"We did receive a complaint one night," said Kaplan, "but it was a special situation when the noise was due to a concrete pour."

Kaplan and Easton both explained that efforts are being made to avoid inconveniencing students.

"The architects who work directly with the contractors who are erecting Seneca Hall regularly remind them of the proximity of the construction's student neighbors, which means they halt noisy work during exam periods and they delay their morning start times," Easton said.

"[Seneca Hall] is scheduled for completion late this year," said Kaplan. "Noise will continue during the day until then, but we do have hours when they can't make noise. Construction usually begins at 7 a.m., but we start at 8. Later on, as the outside walls are constructed, noise should go down."

Residence life hopes that their plans for the hall, as well as other renovations, will make the pitfalls of construction worthwhile.

Seneca Hall, Putnam's "twin," is expected to open in spring 2009 and will house 80 students.

After construction is finished on Seneca Hall, Residence Life does not have any immediate plans for renovations, but projects will likely continue around campus in the future.

"Future residence hall construction always depends upon costs and budgets," Easton said. "The area most clearly on the radar is the central quadrangle, the oldest residence halls on campus and the ones most in need of renovation."

A detailed list of campus construction can be found on the Facilities Planning Web site, but major projects include the renovation of Greene Hall, reconstruction of Moench Running Track and roof replacements and safety equipment upgrades in residence, academic and dining halls.