Constructive criticism on campus building projects

Dec. 4, 2023, 12:52 a.m.

For many students, it may feel like construction has become a perennial tradition, one that cannot go unnoticed around Main Quad where massive building projects are a fixture in the sights (and sounds) of the campus landscape.

In the heart of campus, two major construction projects are underway; renovations and additions to the Graduate School of Education and the construction of the new Data Science and Computation Complex.

While some students may view the construction as a daily inconvenience, some look at it more optimistically. It represents “a physical manifestation of the progress being made at Stanford,” said Sofia Irlando ’27. 

Renovations are in progress to the Graduate School of Education (GSE), marking the first time a renovation has occurred since the building was originally constructed in 1938.

Alongside updates, a new building under construction will “complement the current Education Building,” according to a Stanford Report press release. The renovation and the new building are set to be completed by May 30, 2025, after construction resumed in December 2022. 

The GSE renovation and new building project include “extensive improvements to the existing Education/Cubberley Building (referred to as the North Building)” along with “construction of a new four-story South Building,” wrote University spokesperson Luisa Rapport.

These projects are taking place in between Green Library and Main Quad, which is a daily route for many students. The area also includes a roundabout known as the “Circle of Death,” notoriously one of campus’s busiest biking intersections.

Many students expressed concerns about getting to class on time while navigating the construction. 

“I appreciate how the school sees value in making upgrades and improvements to our campus, however it doesn’t take away from the fact that it inconveniences us as we try to get around, especially to classes,” said Kendal Murray ’25.

Other students, like Carter Dessommes ’27, were more blunt: “I hate it, I hate construction. It makes me late to class all the time.”

Arusha Sahai ’27 said she was especially impacted by the construction since her main transportation on campus is walking. “I have to go through Green Library to get to the Main Quad on foot, and if Green Library is closed I have to take a big detour to get to class,” Sahai said.

The Data Science and Computation Complex is being built at the end of the intersection of Jane Stanford Way and Via Crespi, across from the Northwest corner of Main Quad, near William R. Hewlett Teaching Center. The construction, which has not obstructed pathways or direct routes, is slated to be finished by Dec. 31, 2024 after starting in February 2022.

Rapport wrote that Herrin Hall and Herrin Lab, the buildings which previously occupied the land the Data Science and Computation Complex is being built on, “were older lab facilities and most of the occupants have moved to the new Bass biology building.” 

Some students questioned the necessity of the construction.

“I feel the constant construction is a tell-tale sign of elite institutions competing with each other to have the best things while not prioritizing practical usage,” said Mahalia Morgan ’27. 

Other students see this competition as a benefit to students of the future, and many students anticipated the eventual completion.

“Construction is always ongoing so I am excited about the final result,” said Uchenna Abba ’27. 

In response to questions on the project’s funding, Rapport wrote that, ”Most construction projects are planned capital expenses, funded through school reserves and/or gifts.”

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