Students say QU didn’t prepare them for South Quad construction. Here’s why.

Cat Murphy, Associate News Editor

Detours and delays marked the first week of Quinnipiac University’s spring 2023 semester as students, faculty and staff returned to campus amid ongoing South Quad construction.

Construction on the three buildings encompassing the university’s South Quad project began shortly after the conclusion of the fall 2022 semester. The $293 million project received final approval from the Hamden Planning and Zoning Commission on Dec. 13, following several months of public hearings.

Peyton McKenzie

Sal Filardi, vice president for facilities and capital planning, notified the Quinnipiac community in an email on Jan. 12, about “construction-related changes” to the south side of the Mount Carmel Campus. The specific implications of the construction were communicated to the Quinnipiac community in a follow-up email on Jan. 20.

“As you have likely seen by now, construction has already begun, and Facilities has made several changes to the Mount Carmel Campus that you should be aware of as we begin the Spring 2023 semester,” Filardi wrote. “Thank you in advance for your patience as we begin construction and get used to new ways of navigating our campus.”

Although Bobcat Way remains accessible to vehicular traffic via the New Road entrance, Filardi informed students, faculty and staff that the South Lot and the access road connection between Bobcat Way, Hilltop Road and Pine Grove Road had been closed due to the construction.

However, Filardi also wrote that “new vehicular traffic routes have been created to allow access to various parts of the Mount Carmel campus” and directed students, faculty and staff looking to park in the Hilltop Lot, the College of Arts and Sciences Lot or outside of the facilities building to use the service entrance behind the CAS buildings.

The construction site has also been fenced off “to restrict foot traffic from anyone who’s not a construction worker,” Filardi wrote.

As a result, the pathway connecting Bobcat Way to the CAS buildings through Pine Grove is closed to pedestrian traffic. Students, faculty and staff can access the CAS buildings from Bobcat Way via the pathway behind The Commons residence hall.

Marcus Ferreira, a sophomore computer science major, credited the university with publicizing the route between Bobcat Way and the CAS buildings but characterized the lengthy detour as cumbersome.

“They do have enough signs up that I wasn’t really confused on how I was supposed to get there,” Ferreira said. “It’s definitely inconvenient, but it’s well-communicated.”

Sarah Leduc, a sophomore biomedical science major, also expressed frustration with the inconvenience of the new route.

“It’s been really tough, especially since I planned my classes around the old commute,” Leduc said. “I knew that there was going to be construction, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this prominent and cause this many problems.”

Tom Ellett, chief experience officer, wrote in a Jan. 19, email to Leduc that the South Quad residence hall and the two new academic buildings would take approximately 18 months and two years to complete, respectively.

“There could possibly be a walkway added between the projects once the footings and building core is established (in) 12 months,” Ellett wrote in the email communication Leduc provided to the Chronicle.

John Morgan, associate vice president of public relations, confirmed on Jan. 31, that “this is something that is being considered.”

Leduc, who has a 10-minute window between classes to travel between the CAS buildings and the Center for Communications and Engineering, said she planned her class schedule last semester with a six-minute commute in mind. However, Leduc said the detour pathway has doubled her commute time and forced her to be late to class.

“I actually looked into seeing if I could move the class that was in CAS,” Leduc said. “(The professor’s) only section was right after, when I had another class in the same room, so I had no choice.”

Like many other students, Leduc said she has resorted to cutting through the grass alongside The Commons residence hall.

“I won’t make it to class if I don’t,” Leduc said, noting that taking the dirt path is a minute-and-a-half faster than the detour route. “I still will often be late, but I’d be later without it.”

Ferreira also said he has become accustomed to using the unofficial shortcut instead of the paved pathway.

“You’re clearly not supposed to walk there,” said Ferreira, who has a 15-minute window to commute from the CAS buildings to the CCE. “It’s not super pleasant, but I think it’s worth it because it’s quicker.”

Both Ferreira and Leduc characterized the hilly shortcut as unsafe, and Leduc described seeing students slip in the mud.

However, both students also pointed out safety issues associated with the lack of separation between the painted pedestrian pathway and oncoming vehicular traffic on Hilltop Road.

“It doesn’t feel very safe,” Ferreira said. “There’s just people, just because there’s no room, walking outside of the path.”

Leduc said she was most frustrated by the university’s seeming lack of consideration for its current student body.

“I think they care more about the students that will be coming in a few years and their money instead of our money and the students who are currently here,” Leduc said. “Right now, everyone that I’ve talked to about this feels very ignored.”