For every year, we can easily notice that many university campuses carry on constructing of new building or remodeling. The University of Seoul (UOS) is not an exception. The construction of new building is good for the UOS. However, the constructing season is quite long. We couldn`t completely ignore some problems.
New Building Construction - Beware of the Danger
Can we expect silent environment near by constructing site? Can passenger easily walk near by constructing site? Someone who experienced or lived near constructing site will say NO, not to mention.
Short Brief about Constructing a New Building
Before we talk about the problems that could be occur while constructing, let`s discuss more about this construction.
Every year, we easily notice that many university campuses are carrying on construction of a new building or remodeling. The UOS is not an exception. The name of building is Universal Education and Research Institute (a tentative name) and its construction began at the end of 2008. The scale of the building is very big. There are two stories below the ground and twelve stories above the ground and it will have new classrooms, parking lot and student club room. According to this we can expect advanced quality of student facilities for students.
The view of the Universial Education and Research Institute (a tentative name)
Upon completion the new building will have new 23 classrooms, 13 seminar rooms, 73 professors research rooms a library, material rooms, an auditorium, student club and student council rooms.
At the same time the Main Stadium is also under construction. The past stadium was not a grass stadium but after the construction the Main Stadium will have grass. Under the stadium there will be a parking lot to hold a maximum of 375 cars. The number of basket ball courts will also increase and students will be able to enjoy a variety of sports compared to past. The construction of the new building, parking lot construction will be completed by December 31th, 2010. Also the construction of Universal Education and Research Institute will begin at December 31th, 2010, and will be finished at the beginning of the 2011.
The roard is under construction.
The classroom will build up in the form of stair like big class room in the Law School Building. Also, the soundproofing construction in the walls and ceiling will enable students to concentrate on the lectures better and provide more comfortable class environment. Staff of the Department of Facilities said "We will construct fast internet network both wire communication and radio communication, and also implement better technology to prevent hackers from stealing important information and data. In addition, the air-conditioning and heating facilities can be individually controlled, so this will make better use of energy and it will save energy. The new building will contain a wide space above the parking lot and this will provide more lounge area to the students."
Are We Really Free From the Construction Problem?
It is true that after the construction of new building, it will provide more advanced space to professors, students and researchers. They can attend lectures or do researches in the new space. However, we cannot completely ignore some problems that can be occur during construction. For about 2 years, there will be noise near the construction site. The buildings close to the site are Design and Sculpture Building, the Science and the Technology Building and the University Center.
Also the construction site will occupy roads, so it might cause some safty problems to passing students or professors. With this point of view we need to think about a counter plan to these problems.
Before we think about this construction, let`s remember past constructions on campus. After the investigation, The UOS Times have found some problems about the noise. Last year in the beginning of second semester, one professor (Dept. of Law) complained about noise occuring during the building remodeling.
He said "That construction originally planned to finish in winter vacation. However, it was delayed and in the first two weeks of semester, I heard much noise during the lecture." There is another case. Lee Jin-woo (Dept. of Mechanical Information Engineering ‘08) said "My Digital Logic class was in the 1st Engineering Building, but it was very noisy because remodeling of building. I heard a great amount of noise at the opposite side of the corridor and I couldn`t concentrate on my lecture well. In addition, that class had close relation between professor`s lecture and exam."
The Problem Revealed
In the Design and Sculpture Building and the Science and Technology Building the problem has actually revealed. Now with the beginning stages of construction, students using the Design and Sculpture Building complain very much. One of the student said "It`s too noisy, please work at night." In the bottom of the Design and Sculpture Building Dept. of Visual and Industrial Design students working area is divided only by a thin wall to the construction area.
The view of the constructing site
Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering, Dept. of Mechanical Information Engineering and Dept. of Physics students mainly use the building, the Science and Technology Building, and it might cause other kind of problem. In a written interview we can find problems that other people could easily fail to notice. One professor (working at the Science and Technology Building) said "Because of vibrations, some micro scale machines in the laboratory are damaged slightly.
So, I postponed my research in the night time." Regarding to noise problem, the Department of Facilities said "The construction process that expected to make lots of noise will be done at the weekend and we will use low-noise equipments during the weekdays. Also, around the noisy equipments there will be temporary walls to prevent the spread of noise." However, Prof. Jang Seo-il (Dept. of Environment Engineering) said "Department of Facilities suggested all possible ways, but we can`t estimate its effectiveness." In other words, Department of Facilities` countermeasure is presently unknown.
It`s clear that the construction site is always noisy. However, it is essential that students and professors should not be hampered in their researches or classes because of noise pollution. Otherwise, professors will have stress and students can`t expect to concentrate on class.
Trouble to Pass & the Risk of Accident
In the questionnaire, the UOS students pointed out that the most serious problem in this year`s construction is ‘walking past the construction site.` Present, the road has been blocked that connects from the Rear Gate to Design and Sculpture Building. Also, only half of the Main Street can used only by people has become a traffic road.
There is a steep precipice beside the road
There are serious problems. It is that students still don`t distinguish sidewalk and traffic roads, so they use the Main Street as usual. When you are in the school, you can see some dangerous situations; a car grazing a student or a car blowing a horn behind students. There are dangers of car accidents on the campus.
But should we blame many students who don`t care about their safety? It doesn`t seem only the UOS students` fault. Nowaday, the counterplan that the UOS proposed is that they just divided the Main Street with yellow sticks and red tapes. It looks like school thinks more about the car than students. Also, it`s doubtful that the school is concerned about setting cobblestones that can divide sidewalk and traffic road or set a speed limit.
The construction space of the road from the Rear Gate to the Design and Sculpture Building has the risk of accident. In this case, some students pass here in spite of the heavy equipment, such as an excavator. Furthermore, there is a precipice area beside the road. A plastic fences written ‘safety first` stands there at the most. If a student passes along the side of the road to avoid the heavy equipment, an accidental fall could occur. There should be greater measures in this area to ensure student`s safety.
Withdraw of the Main Stadium
Construction is an important aspect for the development of the UOS. As the questionnaire shows, a lot of students expect fantastic building and the Main stadium upgrade the value of the UOS. However, the most important thing is that when doing any construction at the UOS, we have to think about students` welfare first.
In other words, the school has to care about students during the time to start construction. For example, after completion of the General Lecture and Law Institute, the danger of accident existed because the sidewalk and traffic road wasn`t clearly distinguished, although it was a curbed. The UOS should concern about students` welfare and the Student Council has to show an interest for students` safety.