You’ve seen it. You’ve heard it. You’ve become annoyed by it. When will it end?
The seismic retrofitting project in the Humboldt State University library is a five-year project of additions and renovations to the library that aims to ensure the safety of the building in the event of a major earthquake. Much of the work of the project is done or is underway.
The completion date of phase three of the project, which includes improvements and expansions to the basement of the library, has been moved to April 14—although there is a chance that it could get moved back again. Much to the dismay of students and faculty, this means jackhammering and drilling will continue throughout the coming weeks. Director of Planning, Design and Construction, Mike Fisher, pointed to a number of factors contributing to the delayed timeline.
“We have to excavate through a number of existing conditions, and through that action, we reveal things we didn’t know about,” Fisher said.
An example Fisher mentioned was the stairs in the library needing to be redone as his workers discovered that the original stairs were poorly designed.
“It’s little instances like that that compound to lead to a time delay,” Fisher said.
Fisher went on to talk about the permitting process.
“During the project, we were moving through permitting and one of the jurisdictions having authority is the Office of the State Fire Marshal,” Fisher said. “Their permitting process took much longer than expected and we had to halt production until we could get that permit secured.”
Fisher also said he and his crew have been working on retrofitting the theatre arts building alongside the library. They considered the theatre arts building to be a higher priority building, as it’s home to regular instruction.
Deema Hindawi, a senior at HSU and a co-coordinator at the Multicultural Center, is one of many directly feeling the effects of the construction. She said it’s hard for her to function in the MCC both as a student and a co-coordinator because she has had meetings interrupted by construction noise.
As a critical race, gender and sexuality studies and criminology double major, she has found it difficult to function because she has been constantly battling jackhammering and drilling.
Hindawi also noted that there used to be a sign on the side of the MCC that was placed there as part of the retrofitting project without taking into consideration the impact of its words.
“Having people look at that sign is really uncomfortable, especially when you identify as a part of a marginalized community and having to see the sign that constantly is blaring in your face that reads, ‘No trespassing,'” Hindawi said.
Maya Habis, a junior critical race, gender and sexuality studies major and also a co-coordinator at the MCC, echoed much of what Hindawi said.
Habis added their own two cents on being moved around to the bungalows and back.
“It sucks that we don’t really get much of a say in it and it somehow always comes back onto us,” Habis said. “We kind of get put in between these two things—it’s an ultimatum.”
Dean of the University Library, Cyril Oberlander, said he likes to see himself as part of the student body. He has been told and has noticed for himself that students are not enjoying the noise in the library. He wanted to make it clear that he understands the difficulties of the noise. He invited students and faculty to voice their displeasure with him directly along with suggestions for how he and his staff can make being in the library a better experience for all.