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Dalhousie construction noise makes it ‘almost impossible to focus’

Projects underway not unusual, says facilities management

3 min read
caption Construction on the Henry Hicks building at Dalhousie.
Lauren Hazlewood
Construction on the Dalhousie SUB.
caption Construction on the Dalhousie SUB.
Lauren Hazlewood

Luisa Roberts has chosen to study off campus because of the loud construction sounds she can’t escape from at Dalhousie University.

The Student Union Building (SUB) is undergoing a major renovation. On the university’s website, it’s listed as a place to study.

“The SUB has been under construction all year, making me steer clear of it at all costs,” said Roberts, a third-year student studying English and creative writing.

“With final exams approaching, the libraries are becoming busier and busier and many people have to move to the SUB to find a place to work,” she said. “But with the construction going on, it’s hard to focus.”

Roberts finds the Killam library distracting too.

“The Killam has also been under construction for most of the year. In December, in the three weeks leading up to exams there were a plethora of loud noises and a constant stream of construction workers walking through the library floors,” she said.

There have been posters up warning students about the potential for noisy work.

Posters advise students about construction around Dalhousie's Killam library.
caption Posters advise students about construction around Dalhousie’s Killam library.
Lauren Hazlewood

The Dalhousie website lists the major projects occurring on campus, but generally, routine and maintenance work is not listed.

The Killam is not on Dalhousie’s online list of campus construction projects. The SUB renovations are due to be completed this summer. Other major projects listed include the fitness centre, dentistry clinic and the Tupper Building.

Mary Jane Webber, with facilities management at Dalhousie, said over email that it is normal to have a number of construction projects underway.

“At any given time there are hundreds of major and minor construction projects going on all over campus,” she wrote.

“Facilities management has a staff of over 500 people who clean and maintain all of our properties. A lot of the work is routine maintenance and not very interesting. It is simply the work that needs to be done to keep the buildings comfortable for students.”

The university does a lot of renovation work in the summer, but this is often mainly interior. This leaves a lot of exterior construction to be worked on during the school year.

Roberts said the construction on campus was interfering with her classes.

Construction on the Henry Hicks building at Dalhousie.
caption Construction on the Henry Hicks building at Dalhousie.
Lauren Hazlewood

“Two of my classes this semester are in the Henry Hicks building, which is undergoing extensive exterior renovation. This means that during those classes the teacher is often drowned out by the sounds of drilling, hammering and construction workers talking and yelling over the noise that they’re making.” she said.

Roberts is studying at the Halifax Central Library, especially in the weeks preceding final exams.

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