Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Construction on north campus continues, disrupting students living and taking virtual classes there.

February 28, 2021

North Campus Students Complain of Disrupted Sleep, Distractions as North Campus Expansion Enters into Final Months

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With the North Campus Residential Expansion months from completion, students nearby long for an end to the piercing sounds of drilling and hammering early in the morning. 

The construction, which started in 2019, has become a hassle for many North Campus residents, raising privacy concerns and unexpectedly challenging them to make it in and out of dining halls.

“I actually don’t need an alarm, because the construction wakes me up,” Crystal Lim ’24 said.

According to Christopher Li ’24, construction has been less distracting this semester than last semester. However, it still disrupts his schedule. 

“The construction is incredibly noisy, and often an impediment to schooling online,” Li said. “It is one of the main reasons I don’t take my Zoom classes in my dorm room anymore.”

The NCRE construction has also raised concerns about privacy and safety for students living on North Campus, particularly due to construction workers near currently-occupied dorms.

Li, who lives in Jameson Hall, has to leave his window shades down most of the time because his room is close to the ground directly facing the construction, and he wants privacy.

Jameson Rivera ’22, who lived on the ground floor in Mews Hall last fall, could smell construction workers smoking cigarettes and having loud conversations directly outside his window in the morning.

“They used to congregate in the parking lot behind Donlon [Hall], and since there were almost no other people living on North, I felt like I just had to run and scoot under their radar,” Rivera said.

In addition to disrupting students, workers accidentally blocked off a sewer drain with construction debris last semester. When it rained soon after, a portion of Mews flooded, according to Rivera. 

Rivera mentioned blocked entrances and exits. Several times, he said, he had to leave the building by jumping trenches or cutting around fences.

According to Karen Brown, senior director of campus life marketing and communications, the NCRE project remains on schedule to complete the sophomore site in the fall of 2021 and the first-year site in fall of 2022 as a result of extra work during last summer, when North Campus was almost entirely unoccupied.

The University has revealed its plans for the incorporation of the two new sites into the housing system. Two of the five buildings, intended to house Cornell freshmen and sophomores, will take their names from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg ’54 and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55.

Buildings 1 and 2 on Site 1, intended to be the Sophomore Student Site, will initially house first-year students for the 2021-2022 academic year, after which they will switch to sophomore housing, when Site 2 is available for first-year students. 

“We believe some students who wish to stay on North Campus will be able to choose to stay in these Site 1 buildings for their first two years,” said Brown.