Construction zones and hard hats decorate campus while new and enhanced buildings are springing up around the University, but students and professors still see room for other necessary improvements.
Specifically, the Modern Language Building and Frieze Building are disliked by many who frequent them. Required foreign language classes are held in the basement of the MLB, where classrooms are absent of windows and narrow hallways become packed with traffic. The Frieze Building was once an Ann Arbor high school and lockers still adorn the first floor. Its dilapidated appearance on the outside is only a first impression to the grossly painted inside walls, bad ventilation and unreliable elevators.
“It feels institutional and doesn’t utilize its space very well,” Morrissey said.
Morrissey also expressed dissatisfaction with the MLB.
“The basement of the MLB is definitely my least favorite place to have class,” adding that “it feels like a dungeon and we all have to take so many classes down there.”
Right now there is over $126 million going into construction projects on campus. Senior Information Coordinator of Facilities and Operations Diane Brown said that it is necessary to balance the needs of the different academic units when considering which projects to take on.
“Two years ago, Haven Hall would have been the biggest complaint,” Brown said, adding that “there is only so much that (the Literature, Science and Arts College)can handle while limiting student constraint.”
Brown said the Frieze building is “clearly” in need of work and that a complete demolition would be necessary for any major improvements. This type of long-term project is not pending, though she said low cost improvements are being explored.
The MLB is in better condition than Frieze, Brown said, adding that she was unaware of the building’s unpopularity with students and professors. Again, no major updating of the building is pending, though it will soon benefit from a chiller plant that will provide air conditioning for the MLB and Hill Auditorium.
The large amount and fast pace of University construction is set to continue.
“It’s a never ending process if you are a good steward of resources, and the University takes a lot of pride in being a good steward,” Brown said.
This ongoing process of updating the facilities was delayed back in 1997. “We did slow down a little because (former President) Bollinger asked for a company to come in and do a comprehensive master plan on campus,” Brown said. She added that “it provided a roadmap of possibilities for planners to have a cohesive and coordinated plan to follow.”
Upcoming projects for LSA facilities include work on the Literature, Science and Arts Building and residence halls. Students can expect the yellow tape and cranes to be around for some time, Brown said, emphasizing the importance of upkeep and continuous progress of University facilities.
“It’s a place we know needs to be fresh and new in order to deliver the kind of education this University expects to be delivered,” she said.