Students living in Mary Markley Residence Hall will have to
alter their walking routes to Central Campus after spring break,
due to upcoming School of Public Health renovations.
On Feb. 23, the University will close Washington Heights Street
between Observatory Street and the east end of the SPH II because
of the demolition of the connector between SPH I and SPH II.
Currently, to get to Central Campus, most students living in
Markley walk up Washington Heights, turn left onto Observatory and
cross the bridge outside the Central Campus Recreation
After Spring Break, those students will have to take East
Medical Center Drive located north of Markley, said Diane Brown,
Facilities and Operations spokeswoman.
They will then have to cross Observatory, walk down the sidewalk
behind Couzens Residence Hall and take the newly built bridge near
the new Life Sciences Initiative complex.
Brown said the detour will be in effect for about 15 months and
emphasized that students should be cautious during the
“Do your best to cross at crosswalks,” she said.
“My two biggest concerns are: one, students should not be
going into the construction site and two, they should make sure not
to add to vehicle congestion in the streets.”
Fabric-covered chain link fences have already been raised around
the construction site near Markley and the School of Public Health.
Ten-foot tall plywood walls are also being put up between the two
buildings for the safety of passersby.
Because of the road closure, many bicycle racks around Markley
and SPH will relocate to another side of the building.
The affected bike racks are indicated with fliers, and the
Department of Public Safety will deem any bikes remaining at those
racks at 8 a.m. Monday as abandoned property.
Students should prepare for increased traffic. Next week, the
Ann Arbor Fire Department and DPS will perform training exercises
at the construction site and their emergency vehicles will be
parked across from Markley Hall, Brown said.
Though Washington Heights hasn’t closed yet and the
chain-link fences have only recently been erected, some students at
Markley Hall said they are already annoyed by the upcoming
“I think the whole thing is a waste of time and
money,” LSA freshman Alex Huang said. “It’s
already hard enough to get to Central Campus from here. It’s
just a hassle; we want to get back from class as fast as possible
and not have to walk down to Couzens.”
Other students believe that the construction will initially
bother students but in time, students will adapt to the altered
conditions. “It’s rather inconvenient for everyone
living in Markley,” Engineering freshman Eric Chao said.
“But people will get used to it because Markley is already a
long walk from Central Campus.”
Usually when students have to deal with construction that will
be completed after they graduate, they tend to argue that they
shouldn’t have to deal with the construction because they
will not be able take advantage of it, Brown said. “But
(students) are enjoying right now what the students before (them)
put up with,” she added. “It’s a cyclical thing.
In order to keep this place world-class, this is what we have to
From 2000 to 2002, students endured fences and detour routes on
the Diag during construction for the new Haven Hall, which was
completed about 15 months ago.
Built in 1942, SPH I will receive a series of renovations to
modernize the building, including its mechanical, electrical, and
plumbing systems. Besides minor construction to SPH II, a
seven-story 125,000-square-foot addition will be built near the
current connecting bridge.
The addition will span the width of Washington Heights and
provide a new connection between SPH I and SPH II. Construction
will be completed by 2007, Brown said.