October 19, 2012 by Op-Ed
The Drexel community has long awaited the completion of the University’s latest construction projects on campus. Oh, how we long for the creation of the impressive LeBow business building with its walls made of glass and modern architectural structure or the inviting open lot that is perfect for the springtime, which we dearly refer to as the Quad. The excitement of the future Chestnut Street, consisting of upcoming vivacious commercial stores and comfortable student apartments, has spread across the entire Drexel population. The Drexel Master Plan is vigorously advertised as a guideline to how the University campus will soon show improvement to become the campus that prospective students will absolutely drool over. Looks like Drexel’s got such a bright future.
But who cares for the present when the future is so enticing? Being ranked the ugliest campus in the nation in 2002 and 2003 by Campus Squeeze and once again in 2008 by Radar magazine clearly has not opened the eyes of Drexel administrators. We are still rated among the most unattractive campuses throughout the entire United States. However, this ’ will not surprise anyone who’s accustomed to the way Drexel does things. I mean, it is hard to expect much from a campus where students are awoken in the morning by the intense, raucous cacophony of a mechanical drill digging into the concrete outside the residence halls at the crack of dawn. And let’s not forget the beautiful sight of the layers of long, rusty scaffolding imprisoning students who attempt to enter Creese or the dining hall on a daily basis. And the sole sanctuary, the Quad, that used to exist smack in the middle of campus, is now delicately embroidered with wrecking balls, long cranes, and a jumble of wooden debris and bricks. Even those precious prospective students that Drexel is yearning to attract can’t help but think only of an expansive, unsightly construction site when they decide if they should include Drexel University in their college application lists. But it’s all OK because Drexel has decided to plant a few trees and flower gardens here and there for the purpose of damage control. That’ll add to the plethora of pre-existing aesthetics on campus.
Now, others may argue that after Chestnut Street is redesigned in 2013 and LeBow is finished in 2014, the campus will look much more appealing than it does currently. The flaw in such thought is the assumption that this will be the end of the construction era at Drexel. Which building will be providing for student’s morning wake-up calls next? Maybe suddenly MacAlister or Disque will need reconstruction, or we’ll need to make more residence halls due to another overflow of incoming students. The cycle is never ending. Construction will always exist on Drexel’s campus. A building that may have been an exquisite architectural spectacle one year can easily become another victim of Drexel construction a decade later. Alongside the construction efforts, our campus will continually remain a playground for hammers, hard hats, and hefty machines. So, I ask the Drexel community to reflect on the true value of these construction projects. Although they may seem to be gleaming with hope for an elegant set of edifices, they are also the worst eyesores that plague the campus we walk through every day.
Krunal Patel is a sophomore electrical engineer at Drexel University and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org