As construction in Hinman College continues, new fencing around Hinman Dining Hall will block walking paths for commuter students parked in Parking Lot M and those who live in Susquehanna Community and Hillside Community.
Renovations inside the building, which was taken offline this summer, will obstruct the area along the pathway from Parking Lot M and in front of the dining hall, making it more difficult for students coming from the area to access the Brain, the main road that circles campus. Residents of Hinman College will also be affected by the pathway changes, losing access to the Hinman Quad and the surrounding walkway.
In a Listserv email to Hinman College residents, Kandyce Baker, area director of Hinman College, said a new sidewalk will be in use while the construction process is ongoing.
“Pedestrians heading to central campus from [Parking Lot M] should use the new walkway constructed along the Connector Road to reach destinations,” Baker said. “Initial work for the dining hall renovation will involve a lot of utility relocation in the area of [the] Hinman Quad.”
Salenna Weiner, a sophomore majoring in integrative neuroscience and a resident of Lehman Hall, said the construction has already negatively affected her. Her building’s main entrance is partially blocked, and Weiner said finding alternative eating locations and dealing with construction noise has made life more difficult.
“Climbing up to eat at a different community is tedious, especially with the weather not getting any warmer,” Weiner said. “Also, they haven’t started construction until this week, which is strange because the dining hall has been closed since the end of last semester. I’m starting to hear loud drilling throughout the day and it’s pretty disturbing to me.”
Faisal Alam, an undeclared freshman, lives in Hughes Hall. Alam also expressed concerns about having to walk to Mountainview College every day to eat food. The new fencing will make his walk longer than usual.
“I absolutely hate walking up to Appalachian [Collegiate Center] every day,” Alam said. “Especially since I want to avoid walking in the cold for as long as possible.”
This will be the second set of fences being implemented in Hinman College, with the first surrounding Parking Lot L and blocking the path between the lot and Cleveland Hall. Rhyana Ptashnik, a junior double-majoring in English and philosophy, politics and law, is a commuter student who typically parks in Parking Lot M. Ptashnik said she has already been affected by the pathway changes, especially with the end of fall approaching.
“The changes make my walk to class a lot longer because I can no longer cut through Hinman [College],” Ptashnik said. “Instead, I have to walk around Hinman [College], and only one side of the road has sidewalks. The sidewalks are steep and aren’t always salted. The ice and slush can be potentially dangerous. I almost fell walking to class Wednesday morning, and it was barely snowing.”
Lorena Maggiore, a sophomore double-majoring in music and English and a resident in Hillside Community, said she has also seen a longer walk to the main campus because of the construction.
“I have had to take a longer route walking to my classes,” Maggiore said. “It can get pretty exhausting, especially during these colder months. I think it would be great if there were a bus that took us directly to and from the University Union. I avoid taking the bus because I wind up saving time walking, and I think I would take the bus more often if there were fewer stops.”
Ptashnik said there is more the University can do to help students who have to walk from Parking Lot M to the main campus every day.
“They should definitely salt and shovel the ramps and sidewalks more,” Ptashnik said. “They also should have been doing this during the summer, not when school is in session because it interferes with everyone’s route.”