The current construction behind the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons (CULC), intended to create a wider pathway and make the cobbled street safer will soon be expanded. From November 3, construction will begin at the site the food trucks currently occupy.
“The walkway should be done by Homecoming, but we will start work on an island after that for which the food truck will have to be relocated,” said Jerry Young of Facilities Management. “There is no fixed location as of now, but Tech Green or the Plum Street walkway are possibilities,”
According to Young, within the next few weeks a decision will be made through a discussion between Facilities Management, Auxiliary Services and Capital Management.
“The current location behind CULC, although popular, may not be a permanent location for the food trucks,” said Gary Jelin, Associate Director of Design Services. “The loading dock situated there serves three buildings, the Library, CULC and Crosland Tower. When the food trucks are parked there, no deliveries can be possible to that dock.”
The plans to redo the area existed way before the thought of food trucks came across anyone’s mind.
The food trucks were introduced as an experiment,” Jelin said. “There were about 30 food trucks brought on campus to see how the students respond. They covered all sides of Tech Green and then we finally settled on the current locations after looking at the popularity.”
Last February, Auxilliary Services set up a Tech Truck Tournament on Tech green in which 16 different food trucks from around Atlanta competed to be voted as a “favorite food truck.” Students sampled food from different trucks and voted on which vendors they preferred.
As a result, 10 of these trucks currently offer their wares at locations around Tech, including next to the CULC. This includes Viet Nomie, Fry Guy, Mac the Cheese and Mighty Meatball.
Such additions and changes to planning and construction are quite common. According to Jelin, all construction on campus is based on the master plan for the institute.
“What happens is that the executive committee gives us our instructions but they get suggestions from the Design and Planning Commission and sometimes outside consultants,” Helin said. “Depending on the needs, the priority for projects is decided. If a donor comes up saying, ‘here’s $50 million, I want you to construct a building here,’ then that becomes a priority.”
A lot of construction work is also the maintenance of old buildings and pipelines through the campus.
“Some of the buildings are really old and need to be modernized or need regular upkeep,” Jelin said. “So when you relay pipelines for one part of campus and do that similarly for all parts, by the time you are done with the last part it is already time to do redo something you laid earlier! Thankfully, we don’t get a lot of complaints from the students about the construction because they know that what we are doing is for their benefit. The problem is, it doesn’t look great when construction is going on, but a few years down the line when you walk on campus you’ll be really impressed.”
“The change I have seen on campus in my eight years here has been phenomenal,” Young said.
There is also plan to make all the buildings on campus adhere to a certain design to make sure they are identifiable as Tech buildings.
“I think that helps people connect to the campus more. Walking on the campus should be a pleasant experience. And I have had people tell me that they really enjoy walking on campus,” Jelin said.
It has taken a lot of work to expand the campus and make it the way it is in the middle of the city, according to Jelin.
“If you look at the old plans of campus, it was only around the Bobby Dodd Stadium,” Jelin said. “There were streets running through the campus with residential complexes on it. It’s interesting to know how over the years we managed to close the streets down and divert traffic around the campus. This might not be a good comparison, but compared to Georgia State, our campus really holds up. I have a daughter who goes there and I know people say ‘why can’t our campus be more like Georgia Tech?’”
The planning of construction around campus is the responsibility Capital Planning and Space Management.