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Campus experiences major renovations, construction projects

Unscheduled pipe maintenance construction is underway in the university quad.(Anna Ryan/Roo News)

Since the start of the spring semester, numerous construction sites have popped up across UMKC’s Volker campus.

The prominent areas of construction and maintenance include the Miller Nichols Library, the Education Building and the quad. 

“I was surprised by the timing of the renovations and maintenance, with school starting and the length of time it’s taking to be finished,” said Naomi Young, a freshman nursing major. “However, the workers are just doing their jobs. It’s not a major disturbance, just slightly inconvenient.”

Young has been impacted the most by the construction in the library, where the majority of her classes are held. The ongoing renovations in the library are primarily for routine maintenance and painting, according to UMKC Director of Strategic Communications John Martellaro. There have been some more significant changes on the upper floors, however.

“The main components of the third-floor renovation were the completion of the Digital  Collaboration Studio and the new space for the State Historical Society, which moved from Newcomb Hall,” Martellaro said.

Visiting assistant professor Gina Paese-Margiela teaches on the second floor of the Education Building and has been impacted by the ongoing renovations to the building’s roof.

“I was surprised to hear it so loudly on the second floor,” Paese-Margiela said. “It was tough to have a productive discussion in a larger classroom.”

The project, which is set to renovate the entire roof, started towards the beginning of the spring semester. UMKC’s initial plan was to have the project finished in two to three weeks, however, construction is still ongoing. Construction also remains ongoing in the university’s quad, where unscheduled pipe maintenance with no end date is underway.

Despite the disturbances, Martellaro said UMKC aims to schedule maintenance during times that have the least amount of impact on both students and faculty members.

“We do this by either scheduling for times that will have the least impact, provide safety barriers or in some cases schedule classes in locations that will not be impacted,” Martellaro said.

Martellaro also noted that UMKC is developing the “Divine Nine Garden,” which will honor Black Greek Letter organizations and their inter-generationational ties to Black college students and alumni. No timeline has been set for this construction project.

According to Martellaro, UMKC was unable to complete these projects over winter break as the university already had certain maintenance projects scheduled for that period.

“We try to schedule as much as possible during these times,” Martellaro said. “Sometimes, the work takes longer than campus breaks to complete, and sometimes necessary repairs must be done immediately on short notice.”

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