Construction on Campus: What’s Going On?

Since May, construction has been taking place on both the west and east side of SLU’s campus. Due to the prevalence of construction, pathways have been blocked and students have had to take longer routes to get to their destinations. 

As Laasya Sarva, a freshman, pointed out, most students don’t know why the construction is going on. Furthermore, Sarva added: “It’s inconvenient if you have classes on polar opposite sides of campus.” The construction manager, Dustin Montgomery, attempted to alleviate these concerns by explaining the motivations behind the construction. 


There are two types of construction going on at this time: the construction of the new science building and the utility project. Both have been in the works for a long period of time. In fact, the designs and blueprints began to be written up about two to three years ago. In regards to the utility project, Montgomery said, “What we’re trying to do is make sure the infrastructure to the buildings on campus are not aged. The pathways to the buildings and the electrical and gas systems need replacement.” A new, more efficient, and reliable substation is replacing the old one in order to allow for reductions to utility costs and energy consumption. This will result in lower costs down the road for all the systems. These reductions will allow this construction project to pay itself back in around ten years.


   The utility project is also replacing piping and cabling underground. “We’re installing all new pathways and cabling, as well as assisting IT to ensure that if a network goes down, there’s another source to feed that building,” said Montgomery. Also, over winter and spring break, all of the buildings will need to be connected to the new substation, so there will be various shut-downs during these times to put everything on the new substation. This project will wrap up in the spring around March.


 What many do not realize is that the hardest part of the construction, including widening West Pine by six feet, tearing up the sidewalk near Laclede and building the new patio for the Busch Student Center, was actually finished over the summer so that there was less inconvenience for students. What is being done now is only a fraction of the work that the workers did over the summer to make sure that there wasn’t too much traffic on West Pine once the fall semester began.


Regarding the science building, Montgomery expressed that it will be a very beautiful building and will open up in August 2020. Sarva said, “Having the new science building will be a great resource, especially with a lot of the population of students being STEM majors.” This new science building will create many new opportunities for SLU as a whole, through resources like new classrooms and new research and lab areas.


Montgomery continued saying, “In the long run, [the construction] will allow for a better environment for students to learn in and allow the campus to sustain and grow for years to come.” In order to have a campus that grows and adapts with the times, these types of upgrades need to happen. If they are neglected, students risk electrical, network and gas problems down the road.