Upperclassmen bemoan temporary loss of Cross Campus

For the previous three years, Claudia Reitmaier ’07 spent many of her free afternoons on Cross Campus playing sports with her friends and enjoying the area, like many of her peers. But this year, her open green space has been replaced by piles of dirt and makeshift plywood walls.

“I used to play soccer and frisbee on Cross Campus last year,” she said. “Now I can’t do that any more.”

The construction site of Cross Campus seemed to materialize out of nowhere, a temporary smudge on the otherwise impressive landscape of the Yale campus. For freshmen, the site is an unknown blur of blue mixed with the sounds of hammering and drilling. For seniors, it remains a source of vexation as their last year at Yale will be devoid of the large lawn that was so often a place of relaxation on fair-weathered afternoons and a much-used campus shortcut. Many students said the costly construction taking place all over campus has become a source of varying degrees of discomfort and an annoyance for Yalies in every class.

The University is renovating Cross Campus Library and the tunnel connecting it with Sterling Memorial Library, while adding more reading rooms and reconstructing underground rooms and passages such as Machine City. The construction is due to end at the beginning of the 2007-’08 school year.

“Cross Campus was a hallmark of Yale,” Saskia Leggett ’09 said. “I miss it being the center of almost everything.”

Leggett said that although she did not use CCL very often, Cross Campus was often a meeting point for Yalies.

Leggett is a Staff Reporter for the News.

Senior Class Treasurer Irving Ye ’07 said one of the things he misses most about Cross Campus is the way it brought together people who live and work all over campus.

“Cross Campus was always a prime location for people to get together — it’s like a gift that’s been taken away,” he said. “I‘m in Timothy Dwight, and the construction at both Silliman and Cross Campus has made us feel somewhat isolated.”

Isolation is far from the only complaint about the construction. Most students, apart from being bothered by the noise of the work site, said they believe that the Cross Campus landscape was one of the most relaxing and picturesque on campus, and that its loss has been a major disappointment.

Yuan Ren ’08 echoed a sentiment many Berkeley students expressed about missing the scenery his windows used to look out on.

“I miss having the view,” Ren said. “As an upperclassman, you have a certain affection for Cross Campus.”

And students are not the only ones missing out on the beauty of the campus. Ye said it was a shame that visitors who come to Yale to enjoy its impressive architecture could not see Cross Campus — one of the classic images tourists see in photographs before visiting in person — in its full glory.

Catherine Landers, who was visiting Yale from New York last week, said she loved the Yale campus but that she would have liked to have seen Cross Campus as well.

“All the buildings are beautiful,” Landers said. “I just wish I could have seen all the other areas that are now under construction, since I’ve heard so much about them.”

For seniors, the loss of Cross Campus during their last year has been disappointing both because they are not be able to enjoy Cross Campus and because they will not be able to reap the benefits of the finished result. But for the rest of the classes, the construction, as inconvenient as it may be, is a tangible sign of better things to come.

Like many freshmen, Kathleen Dantzler ’10 may not miss Cross Campus as much as her older peers because she never experienced it like they did, and she looks forward to the end results of the construction.

“I’m definitely excited to see what Cross Campus will look like next year since I wasn’t able to see it before the construction started,” she said. “I’m in Berkeley, so it’ll be really nice to have a completely renovated library with a cafe so close by next year.”

Even some upperclassmen agree that although they regret not having Cross Campus this year, in the end, the work will be rewarding for other students.

“It is a necessary evil,” Matthew Goldstein ’08 said. “It had to be renovated. The Cross Campus Library needed a face-lift. I believe in the end it’s for a better campus.”

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