Acknowledge completed campus improvement projects
Brandeis’s decaying infrastructure has long been a financial and aesthetic issue for the University, and this summer’s work to address campus construction represents a strong positive development in the University’s institutional planning and organization.
In a Sept. 22, 2016 open meeting on the financial state of the University, economist and consultant Kermit Daniel described the declining state of campus infrastructure, according to a Justice article from Sept. 27 of the same year. “It’s been a very long time since anything was done about the infrastructure here, and … it’s beginning to show,” Daniel said in the meeting.
This summer, the University has worked on a number of projects to restore and renovate the campus, including the demolition of Towers C, D, E and Schwartz Hall of Usen Castle; improvements to a number of campus heating and cooling systems; considerable work on Squire Bridge and a number of repaving projects. The improvements were a necessary step for improving living conditions and making the University more sustainable, both financially and environmentally, and were critical in minimizing costs of future decay and lessening the University’s financial burden in the long run.
This board commends the University for staying on schedule in achieving these crucial improvements.
In a May 10 email to the student body, Vice President for Campus Operations Jim Gray and Executive Director of Facilities Services Bob Avalle described the planned work to be done on the campus over the summer. The email listed projects such as “[s]ite preparation and utilities work for the new residence hall on part of the former Usen Castle,” with an estimated completion date of Aug. 2018; new roofs in a number of buildings; the installation of new heating/cooling systems in Schiffman, Usdan, Schwartz, Brown and Lemberg; the replacement of the library plazas and the replacement of North Road and North Lot.
A later email on Aug. 29 confirmed the accomplishment of all of these projects, as well as the additional installation of new steam lines and heating systems in Massell Quad, significant renovations to Squire Bridge and an upgraded filtration system in Linsey Pool.
This attention to campus infrastructure, as well as the University’s timeliness in keeping with its summer repair schedule, is certainly to be commended; however, it is vital that the University continue to prioritize such long-term projects. This board hopes to see the beginnings of repairs to the Science Complex in the near future, a project which may cost upwards of $100 million, according to Daniel’s presentation in the Sept. 2016 open meeting. In addition to physical infrastructure, we would like to see the University focus its efforts on updates to information infrastructure, another project that requires serious attention.