Construction of Pomona Dorm Disrupts Nearby Students

The construction of a new dormitory and parking garage on Pomona’s north campus is proceeding according to plan, but is causing disruption for nearby residents and for students who park on campus.“We’ve had some concern about the noise associated with the construction project,” said Bob Robinson, Pomona’s director of facilities and campus services.“It’s bad,” said Greg Carter PO ’10, a resident of the Lawry Towers, which are located next to the construction area. “Sometimes it’s awful, sometimes it’s totally quiet.”The college hosted a forum in Rose Hills Theater on Sept. 10 to discuss concerns with affected residents. “The real issue is the 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. time slot, which is before quiet hours end,” said Carter, “and a lot of people feel frustrated that the college isn’t supporting its own policies.”Andrew Halladay PO ’10, a Lawry resident advisor, voiced his concerns at the forum.“I felt it was my duty as an RA to ensure that the residents get the quality of life that they paid for, and that they get the residential experience the school promises them,” he said. “[It is] within my rights to … report any and all policy violations, and this is the biggest violation this year.”Robinson said 7 a.m. is the standard start-time in the construction industry and in Claremont, and changing the start-time means the project will take more time and money to complete.Residents report hearing the sounds of jackhammers and dump-trucks early in the morning, but note that construction later in the day is often quieter.“The noise is annoying, but it is also really interfering with sleep habits,” said Halladay. “People are having trouble leading a normal college life, because either they are tired in class or they need to go to bed at 9 p.m.”Robinson said that the construction requires breaking up and moving rock, and that the college is looking at other fixes to reduce noise.“We have four projects we’re testing right now: earplugs, headphones, a type of foam insert to go into the windows, and a fourth product that’s more difficult to install and it takes more time—inserting a double pane,” he said. “That’s more obtrusive because we have to measure and order all the windows and get new blinds.”Halladay said the double-pane windows appeared to present the best solution, despite requiring additional construction, and that the earplugs distributed by the college are “cheap, insulting, and don’t work.”Headphones, however, “cover your entire ear, and they muffle the noise and take it down to 25 decibels. They are a lot more comfortable than earplugs,” said Robinson. “We have three that we’re testing out. That way you can keep your window open and get additional light but have the headphones on.”Residents have not yet received the headphones, according to Halladay.“After the meeting they talked about all sorts of wonderful things they would do, only one of which so far has been done: it’s insulation panels,” said Halladay. “A black piece of foam that you put in the window. It reduces the noise to some degree, and it throws the room into profound darkness. It also smells awful. So you lose a little on the sound, but you also lose vision and of course there’s the smell. The school chose it because it was the cheapest option.”Halladay added that residents on his floor are not using the foam inserts and have left them in common room.Robinson said that green fencing surrounding the construction site also provides a buffer against the noise for residents of the lower level of Lawry.“[The problems with construction] underscore that the administration is not invested in the students,” said Halladay.“I don’t know what the Dean of Students does if not put the students first, but they’re obviously doing something else and that’s unacceptable,” said Halladay.The construction has also closed off dozens of parking spaces that existed last year.“There’s plenty of spaces,” said Robinson, “but are they convenient places? The answer is, probably not.” The lots currently open to students are Big Bridges, Seaver North, Oldenborg, and the Kenyon House lot south of Mudd-Blaisdell. None of the lots are located on north campus.“I’ve actually kind of given up on the parking lots and I just generally park on College [Avenue] most of the time, which I don’t know if I’m even supposed to do,” said Renee Johnston PO ’10. “Usually there’s parking on the south side of Big Bridges, basically on south campus—there’s always a few spots there, but that’s totally useless. It’s better to park on College.” “Thus far those [available] lots have not been filled that I’ve noticed,” said Robinson. “And I do check them on a daily basis.” “I think on the weekends you’re allowed to park in Tranquada,” said Johnston, “which is the only time I need it. I also don’t have my car registered. I don’t know if that’s helping or hurting me.”“I was never familiar with the Lawry lot before this year,” said Johnston, “so I don’t really miss it, ’cus I didn’t really know where it was. I didn’t even know where Lawry was. So it hasn’t bothered me that much.”“We knew we would be losing a certain number of parking spaces up by the Lawry area,” said Robinson. “That was the primary reason why freshmen weren’t allowed to bring cars to campus… and so far, we have spaces available.”“I’m sure I’m supposed to have gotten a few tickets by now, ’cus I’m definitely not parking where I’m supposed to be,” said Johnston, “but I think the general anarchy of the parking situation has let it slide.”

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