Tardy campus projects show ineptitude

Sept. 29, 2014

Jonathan Toman, editor-in-chief
jtoman@uccs.edu

I don’t like things that aren’t completed on time.

Like group projects. Or banks that loan you money when you are no longer in debt. And even, yes, late articles.

UCCS has a glaring example that violates this general rule of mine: the Alpine Parking Garage and Field.

Students in on-campus housing were supposed to have their cars moved in to the new parking garage before spring break, and the building was supposed to open March 1.

In a Feb. 24 Scribe article, it was acknowledged that crews had lost 11 weeks of progress. According to project manager Charles Cummings, the delays were mainly due to weather and the process of acquiring permits. The final completion date, now missed by a wide margin, was reset to sometime in June.

The project is still not finished.

“There’s still quite a bit of outside work that needs to be done,” campus architect Carolyn Fox said about the Alpine Parking Garage and Field in this issue of The Scribe. “We’re substantially complete, but not totally complete.”

First of all, what does that even mean? Second, here we are in September, and we still aren’t done?

The UCCS Campus Rec Twitter announced several changes that were still being made to the garage on Sept. 21 and 22. WiFi and the scoreboard were two of the projects.

So were the installation of the netting around the side of the field and the installation of security cameras.

The need for security cameras speaks for itself. The need for the net is a safety issue. Additionally, I played two intramural soccer games without nets around the majority of the field. One ball found its way over the low concrete wall and down toward the cars parked below.

There is only one area where cars are in the open air, and part of the gap in the netting was right above.

The boat was not only missed on this project, it was in another ocean. Services students desperately need, parking and athletic areas, were delayed essentially indefinitely.

However, UCCS made sure to have the Academic Office Building open on time.

When you spend $23 million on something, how can you be so far behind that no one remembers when the project was actually supposed to be completed? I’m not sure, but that’s what seems to have happened here.

The idea of a parking garage with a turf field on top is innovative. It theoretically kills two birds with one stone, more on-campus parking for students and more athletic opportunities. But for such a great idea it has been shown to have elements of extreme short-sightedness.

I understand that, as students, we will pay for things in our time at UCCS that we will see no return for. I will get to use the Recreation Center post-expansion for no more than one school year.

I get that.

But what frustrates me is when one of the construction projects we will get to use isn’t done properly. Perhaps this speaks to a larger issue: the difference between the construction of a private building and a public one.

A Gazette article from March 19 explained that a Trader Joe’s was coming to University Village and that the anticipated date of opening was 2015.

Trader Joe’s is opening Oct. 10.

How is it that Trader Joe’s is opening at least two months ahead of schedule? In contrast, refinements are still being made to the Alpine Parking Garage and Field over six months after resident were supposed to have their cars parked there?

Public Buildings, such as the parking garage, have an abysmal track record when it comes to finishing on time. Hmm… The track record with just this building destroys my view of the timeliness of projects on our campus. While I would love for the Rec Center expansion to be done on time, I don’t expect it to be. If it is, it may be a miracle.