Brenda Shepard, Staff Writer

Whether they have been woken up by the sound of hammers, or were rerouted on their way to class, most of the student body is tired of seeing the caution tape and chain link fences.

For many students, faculty and staff, construction has been going on from the time they stepped foot on campus.

In many cases, students have become numb to the fact that construction has been taking place in nearly every corner of George Mason University.

Many students now cannot walk through this campus without construction around every turn.

“It was here when we came, so I don’t know any different,” said freshman dance major Tikiri Shapiro. “But one time something fell from the ceiling during [dance] class. Our teacher said, ‘just keep dancing.’”

For students living in the Student Apartments, the treacherous journey through the maze of construction along Aquia Creek Lane can be a hassle.

Fortunately, the new Data Center next to Student Union Builing I, which will provide “swing space” for displaced departments and offices while other buildings undergo renovation, is scheduled to be completed by April 2010.

Some students, however, have yet to even take notice of the construction which could be deemed an inconvenience.

“It doesn’t really affect me because I’m never really by it,” said freshman nursing student Lauren Cassel. “I don’t even know what buildings are reopening.”

For other students, such as music majors who must now navigate around the Performing Arts Building, the hassle has been almost intolerable.

“It blocked off all of the main entrances that we use,” said sophomore music major Lindsey Vogel.

Fortunately, the Performing Arts Building addition will be completed by summer 2010, at which time the space, including three large practice rooms, will be available for both music and dance majors.

“We are not only growing in student population, but we are growing in capability,” said Vice President of Facilities Thomas Calhoun. “When I walk around campus, I can really feel a new energy because we have more students living on campus.”

With the completion of the new School of Art building, the School of Engineering building and residence hall called Eastern Shore, there is a positive attitude about the coming new projects that are being developed.

Hampton Roads, neighbor to Eastern Shore, is scheduled to be finished next summer, according to the Facilities website,

The sloped-roof building adjacent to Hampton Roads has plans to be another late-night dining facility, similar to Ike’s in Presidents Park, called The Pilot House.

Upcoming renovations include Thompson Hall, Student Union Building II and Student Union Building I.
The second floor of SUB II will be drastically changed to contain a game room, food venue and lounge space. Calhoun hopes that students will want to go there for reasons other than picking up their mail.
“The idea is that we’ll always be constructing,” said Calhoun. “The goal is to increase the on-campus student population and to keep the energy flowing.”

When the housing projects on campus are completed, the number of students in residence will be around 6,200, about a thousand-person increase.

Since students are guaranteed housing for all four years if they live on campus their freshman year, this will allow for the increasing number of students who hope to live on campus.

Though the construction is a sign of growth and renewal, it can be difficult for many students to watch walls slowly take form. When learning to re-navigate their way from one class to another, many students are ready for construction to end.

If patience is a virtue, then the Mason community will surely have learned this quality well by the time each building is complete.