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The Wharton Academic Research Building, located at the intersection of 37th and Spruce streets is expected to be completed by the end of August 2020. 

Credit: Son Nguyen

Students living in the Quad say they are frustrated by the disturbances caused by construction taking place across the street, complaining about early-morning noise and restricted walkways.

The Wharton Academic Research Building, located at the intersection of 37th and Spruce streets, has been under construction since spring 2018 and is expected to be completed by the end of August 2020. 

Residents of Fisher-Hassenfeld College House and Ware College House, however, said the construction is too loud and wakes students up early in the morning.

In an email sent to Quad residents on Aug. 22, the day following move-in, Senior Residential Services Manager Nayadis Couce wrote, “The typical hours of the project are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with noisy work starting after 8 a.m.”

Phoebe Lapinski, a resident of Ware and College freshman, said she is woken up every morning around 8 a.m. by the construction. 

“There’s lots of drilling, jackhammering, anything of that sort, and so I’m always woken up by the noise,” Lapinski said.

The construction has also frustrated students outside of noise concerns by restricting sidewalks and public pathways.

College freshman Juliette Morfin said that while the noise isn’t too bothersome, the construction makes it difficult for her to maneuver her bike around campus without being late to class.

"I park my bike near 37th and Spruce, so instead of having this wide pathway where I could walk my bike down until I get on Spruce, I have to weave through this little tiny path and bring my bike down steps," Morfin said. 

In recent days, this pathway has gotten even smaller, forcing students to walk up several steps to avoid construction in front of Vance Hall.

Mike Dausch, executive director of design and construction for Facilities & Real Estate Services, said he does not consider the current construction to be particularly disruptive. The current work includes the installation of the exterior facade of the building, Dausch said.

Dausch explained that construction goals are balanced with student concerns, particularly by attempting to complete most of the loudest work over the summer. 

“During the academic year construction activities are delayed until 7 a.m., and as much as possible when loud work is necessary, the contractors attempt to delay that until 8 a.m.,” Dausch said.

On Nov. 22, construction days were extended from just the workweek to include Saturdays, according to an email sent to residents of Ware and Fisher by Residential Services.

College freshman Karlei Kongsiri, who lives in Fisher-Hassenfeld, is also bothered by the construction noise, but said she feels powerless to do anything to prevent it.

"I heard that there was another construction thing and someone complained about it and their complaints got turned down, so I figured that the same would happen," Kongsiri said, referring to complaints surrounding the construction of New College House West.

"It wakes me up every morning," Kongsiri said, which leads to her taking naps to catch up on lost rest.

Neither Residential Services nor FRES said they have received any formal complaints regarding noise coming from the construction of the Wharton Academic Research Building.

Going forward, Dausch said the amount of noise is expected to decrease as the building becomes more enclosed, the exterior of the structure is completed, and work moves to the interior.

The Wharton Academic Research building is one of many new projects that are meant to pop up on campus within the next three years. The building will include classrooms, group study rooms, research centers, and shared conference rooms.