Building noise bugs students

For Yalies trying to get a good night’s sleep, nuisances from this year’s $400 million campus makeover go beyond the makeshift detours around Cross Campus and College Street.

Noise from the construction on campus — ranging from renovations to Cross Campus Library to the construction of a new History of Art Department building on York Street — has caused frustration among students living in dorms closest to the jackhammers and debris chutes. Though the University has adjusted exam and construction schedules to cause the least amount of disruption possible, Deputy Provost Lloyd Suttle said, some degree of noise pollution is unavoidable.

Students in the areas most affected by noise, including Berkeley and Timothy Dwight colleges, said sleep deprivation has been the most painful symptom of the renovations.

“It’s just that on weekend mornings, they start the jackhammering at 8,” said Mena Cammett ’09, who lives in Timothy Dwight, across the street from Silliman College, which is being renovated this year. “I can’t understand why they can’t start later in the afternoon.”

Florence Kwo ’09, another Timothy Dwight resident, said the construction schedule is an extra burden for students who have trouble getting enough sleep during the semester.

“For someone who is a light sleeper, it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep,” Kwo said.

But Suttle said flexibility for Silliman’s construction schedule is not possible because of the sheer volume of work left to be done on the building.

“If we’re going to get Silliman renovated in one year, we’re having to do that in two shifts,” Suttle said. “They’re starting early and going late.”

Students living in Berkeley, near Cross Campus Library’s renovation site, said their mornings have also been disrupted by the beeps of construction vehicles and the sound of falling debris.

“From time to time, I hear trucks backing up,” said Katie Emmerling ’07, whose Berkeley suite directly faces the Cross Campus Library renovation site.

Despite the frustration for some students, others said the noise this year has not been bothersome.

“I actually haven’t noticed noise much,” said Lauren Bowles ’09, a Berkeley resident. “It’s just a pain to walk around.”

Peggy Deamer, a professor at the School of Architecture, said she is usually away from the York Street construction site during class hours.

“We don’t sit here that much,” Deamer said. “We’re not in the office in any consistent way.”

Other students have found ways to deal with the noise pollution. Berkeley resident Ying-Ying Ma ’07 said she gets up early enough to avoid the loudest hours of construction, and Nicolle Quintero ’07, also a Berkeley resident, said she is not bothered by the sound because she keeps her windows closed.

Suttle said it would be impossible to undertake a construction project of the current scale without causing disruptions and noise.

“It’s unavoidable,” Suttle said. “With each of the projects, we try to have conversations and arrangements and agreements ahead of time about when the work time will begin and end. We’re going to have to be working during the academic year, and that unavoidably produces noise and disruption. … We do everything to try to abate it, everything from rescheduling hours during exam period to starting [renovation work] later.”

Still, Suttle said he has sympathy for frustrated students.

“My office is right across the street from Silliman,” he said. “When they’re dumping stuff in those dumpsters, I hear the bang.”

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