In this week’s edition of Campus Newton — a new-ish column about life and times on the Plains from two current Auburn students — Alex Miller and Justin Lee vent about one of Auburn’s greatest modern-day misconceptions. Read last week’s column about their undercover adventure through the Auburn airwaves here.
Keeping with our mission to give to Auburn alumni, graduates, and expatriates an inside look at life as it is on the ground at Auburn University in 2012, we could not overlook the blossoming of construction and the springing of new facilities across our ever-growing campus. The Auburn spirit in our hearts, we set out to gather info and present an in-depth look at the new, state-of-the-art renovations and facility development undertaken by our university—a fresh view of the architecture, the natural landscape, the pleasing aesthetics of the Auburn of today (and of the near future).
But instead we decided to use this space for something useless, and slightly therapeutic: Detailing the frustrations and daily agonies that campus construction brings us and our classmates.
Something all Auburn alumni pride themselves in is Auburn’s campus, widely considered for many years to be one of the most visually appealing in the South. Yes, the weather on the Plains still nears perfection in all seasons, and the sky’s clean air moves with a calm, refreshing breeze. The sun still sets in Auburn to a perfect orange and blue, and just in the days of our forefathers, the essence of life in Auburn is beautiful.
But Auburn’s campus is not currently beautiful. Auburn’s campus is marred by the constant presence of building work, and overrun with the sights and loud, loud sounds of construction.
From extending the concourse in front of Broun, to building the new Student Rec, to whatever the hell it is that they’re doing with Lowder, construction is everywhere on campus. We get it—ours is an ever-changing university, and the loud equipment, hardhats, and patches of loose dirt all over campus reflect that. But it’s almost like somebody just decided that there just wasn’t enough green chain-link fences in Auburn.
The full re-modelling of Lowder has made business majors feel like they’ve somehow switched to the building sciences department, especially when they have to climb through the cave of scaffolding and warning tape every time they go through the front door (and when someone decided the best way to get rid of the old bricks they’ve torn from the building— and by best, they obviously considered not the easiest or the safest, but the loudest— is to toss them four stories down a steel tube and into a steel dumpster). Don’t forget the constant beeping from the equipment that then moves those bricks around (reverse is the new park, neutral, and drive).
The crosswalks of the future being built in Lowder’s shadows on Magnolia have just taken us back to cobblestone. Since the project seems to have lasted since the Bowden era, we were kind of expecting Jestons-style conveyor belts that would also massage your feet or something. Instead, we got stone throwbacks and a loud jackhammer-alarm for any student across the street trying to sleep till the crack of noon.
We’re relieved that the early framework of the new Student Rec Center is finally popping, especially since posters in the Student ACT have it advertised (no joke) as opening academic year 2011-2012. (Don’t believe the student recruiters, high school visitors, and bring a hard-hat.) But the chain-link fences running literally the length of Heisman Drive and around the corner and down part of Wire would have the three amigos ashamed. (Seriously, how much does miles and miles of chain-link fence cost?)
There have to be some engineering majors out there somewhere in a surveying class that can figure out exactly what percentage of Auburn’s acreage is roped off with warning signs. We’ve heard that they call Clemson “Auburn without a Chick-fil-A” but if the admissions office up at CU starts advertising themselves as “Auburn without construction,” they might get a few transfers.
Even the holy athletic department isn’t safe from the angel of OSHA-certified death, nor painstakingly slow resurrection, as half the parking lot has been torn up in exchange for dirt and plastic orange caution fences. And everyone that’s had a chance to visit Plainsman Park has been able to enjoy the wasteland formerly known as Sewell Hall.
Moving indoors, the latest Auburn craze is duplicating on-campus dining options. We believe three Chick-fil-a’s within Cam-to-Darvin Hail Mary range is a TWER world record (Guinness never wrote us back). A second Chick-n-Grill is the most recent campus clone, but sadly a second Taco Truck will probably never come through, probably because there’s no remodeling or inconvenience required
Yes, construction is everywhere in Auburn, from minor landscaping near Samford to the destruction of the fisheries building by the Village, and the fences that still have us thinking the only way into the public tennis courts is by air lift. Across the way is the massive undertaking of the new Student Rec, which only serves to remind upperclassmen of the recreation center they’ll never get to use, and takes away the parking they didn’t even have before.
Nothing in Auburn is safe from construction. Every inch of campus is undergoing… something. No building is left untouched… except for one — every student’s worst nightmare: Parker Hall.
Most alumni remember the math building as either new, old, really old, or the inspiration behind Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Parker has mold growing on top of its mold and other horrible things too graphic for this site. It’s enough to scare away freshman who love math into other majors, stuff even more frightening than upper-level Calculus courses. It’s safe to say that the only construction project that would have full student approve would be the permanent removal of Parker (UPC would have record-breaking results if they sold tickets to the event). Since the Coliseum isn’t going to be imploded after all, students itching to see something get torn down would actually love to see the de-construction of the place where they totally failed that Physics class.
Related: Auburn’s WiFi router names.
* VIDEO: Dog dominates 1964 Auburn scrimmage
* Secondhand Shug
* Smithsonian Magazine photographs kid in Auburn hat at Texas prom
* The WiFi Network Names of Auburn
* Auburn’s Legend of Zelda
* Pat Sullivan orders a “Wishbone T” on Bob Hope
* “Cougar Town” star gets Glom’ed
* Auburn’s new Miss USA
* Former Nitro Girl recalls time at Auburn
Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Want to advertise?
I had the privilege of attending Auburn for almost one full semester (my fist semester, the fall of 2000) when there was no construction, at all, on campus. That all changed the day after the UGa game (last football game on campus). When I say the day after the uga game I mean the wee hours of that Sunday morning. I had slept in and missed church after we had just beaten uga in overtime and the first time in Auburn in a while. I was driving up Donahue past the stadium toward Mamma Gs for some late lunch turkey delight when I looked to the left and was shocked to see or actually not see the old Business building parking lot. It had been totally stripped of all the asphalt and graded down about 2 feet that morning. What was there were about a dozen or so cars that apparently didn’t get the memo this was about to happen. They were sitting on individual car sized islands of parking lot about 2 feet above the new grade level. I’m guessing they had to have flatbed toe trucks come in and pick those cars up. It was the craziest, most sudden and shocking construction thing I’ve seen. Sadly in the last 12 years I don’t know of a single day since then without some construction on Auburn’s campus. I wish I would have taken a picture of the parking lot but that was in the days before camera phones. I didn’t even have a digital camera until 2002. Oh to be 19 and at Auburn again…
But seriously, the quickness with which that parking lot disappeared was CRAZY.
Good to know some things never change. They started ripping up Thach my sophomore year (remember when you could drive down Thach? Past Foy and Haley?) in 2002 or 2003 and it just got worse from there.
And Parker Hall. I got assigned to write a piece for the Plainsman ca. 2004 about how Parker Hall is sinking. One of the Russian (?) math professors swore up and down it sinks a couple of inches each year. I imagine the Lord of the Underworld is calling it home.
Will’s story was hilarious. Imagine owning one of those cars and finding it like that!
Chris Karabinos says
I remember when I was at Auburn from 1979-1984 that there was nonstop building then. And every time I’ve been back there has been major construction going on. I’ve been back 12-14 times since then and there’s always construction activity. I wonder if they’ll ever finish.
Auburn Elvis says
Hey, you can’t be one of America’s fastest growing metro areas without breaking a few parking lots.
Once my buddy left his bike chained to one of the bike racks overnight and the next day the whole rack had been moved elsewhere so they could start construction on a nearby building. They found the bike still attached to the rack 6 months later on the other side of campus.
PlainGal — Parker is definitely, without a doubt, sinking. When my mom was at Auburn she said the bottom floor (the basement with the entrance under the main entrance) only had 1 step. When we used to tailgate in the Quad in the early 90s (yeah, you could do that), Parker housed our bathroom. At that time, I think it was 2 or 3 steps. When I started at Auburn in 2003 and had Physics Lab and Recitation in the basement, it was 3 steps and about to need a 4th.
Caterpillar has been some of the best Stock to buy in recent years. As long as Auburn is still on Earth that stock value is SECURE!
Orange&Blue Chip Stock
We all know that the only reason that AU is constantly under construction is that Auburn is trying to save face after cranking out all these building science grads. Can’t have a bunch of unemployed graduates from such a prestigious school.
Even back in the early 60s we though Biggin Hall was the worst building on campus….I see no reference to it’s neo-classic post WWII European design so does that mean that building is gone? Otherwise Broun Hall was noted for sloping floors and I think it was the building with different windows on each floor.
paul the oracle says
To will.. they were still redoing the buildings on the hill I believe… signs should not say pardon our progress but pardon our obsession