[dropcap]T[/dropcap]wo major construction projects on Wilmington College’s campus are exciting students and faculty. Kettering Hall is under a complete transformation as a 13,500 square-foot addition will update the antiquated halls, classrooms, and laboratories. At summer’s end, the new Center for the Sciences and Agriculture will usher in eager students. Directly adjacent to Hermann Court, crews are making quick headway on the new Center for Sports Sciences. The 41,000 square-foot facility will house Wilmington College’s prominent athletic training program as well as serve the athletic teams on campus.
With all the promise both construction projects bring to Wilmington College, the end product is only a sliver of the process. The journey has created slight problems for students on campus. A significant portion of the student body commutes to and from classes. Finding parking on campus amid the construction presents a struggle to commuting students.
“Sometimes it takes me almost ten minutes to find a space when I get to school,” says Junior Alec Hutzelman. Before the daily class load even begins, Hutzelman is feeling stressed. “It’s affecting my motivation to go to class.”
According to Hutzelman, “finding a space after 9 am is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.”
Students have the choice to purchase a parking permit that allows them the opportunity to find a space in one of the campuses several parking lots. Even with this available option, some students simply don’t want to spend the money; especially after previous years posed no threat to the abundance of on-street parking.
Another element to the conflict of accommodating construction crews and commuting students is the toll taken on the streets and the subsequent toll taken on students’ vehicles.
Hutzelman adds, “I drive a small, 1999 Honda Civic. It’s already low to the ground and I feel like I’m scraping the undercarriage every time I drive over a pothole.” During one particular stretch of inclement weather, the several potholes were hidden with snow. “I actually got stuck one morning. My wheel slid into the pothole and got caught.”
Hutzleman can laugh at that situation now, but it was a frustrating and uncomfortable consequence of compromising on the current state of affairs on campus.
Some commuting students also participate in athletics. Certain days on campus attract heavy amounts of traffic.
Junior Baseball player Luke Matthews says, “On days I have practice and other teams have home games, parking is especially limited.”
Matthews says he already struggles finding a spot in the mornings when he comes for class, but navigating the streets between the extra cars from fans has begun to push him further and further outside the boundaries of the campus.
Matthews laments that “sometimes I end up parking several hundred yards away from where I need to be.”
In mid-February, the weather is often unforgiving. Several hundred yards begins to feel a lot longer in the face of a fifteen mile per hour headwind in twenty-one degree temperatures.
Despite the inconveniences, both Hutzelman and Matthews are excited about the additions to campus and look forward to the projects’ completions. Matthews concludes that he hopes with one year remaining on campus “[he] can reap the full rewards of both buildings once they’re complete.”
The excitement from the student body about all the growth is palpable. The general consensus is that the traffic conundrum is a “necessary evil” to get to a much bigger and much more beneficial end result. The truth is, The Center for the Sciences and Agriculture and The Center for Sport Sciences are huge leaps forward for Wilmington College’s mantra of “hands-on learning, hands-on living.”