Noise, air quality raise concerns at NAA

As a result of construction at the North Avenue Apartments for a new dining hall, students have complained about the inconvenience and requested compensation from the Department of Housing.

The project will expand dining services to relieve congestion at Brittain Dining Hall and offer a 24-hour dining component. Due to the construction, there are a large number of construction workers in the location surrounding the NAN building on a daily basis.

“I have been trying all day to study sleep for my test and cannot concentrate due to the noise level and think it is absolutely ridiculous that I am paying for this room but can’t even use it during the day,” said Ashley Jameson, a second-year GEML major.

Dan Morrison, Director of Residence-Life at Tech, explained that in accordance with protocol, workers are allowed to arrive prior to 8 a.m., but they cannot move around or make noise before that time.

“We don’t deny that it’s noisy and inconvenient, but workers are strictly forbidden from making noise outside of the 8 a.m.-6 p.m. time,” Morrison said.

All students who signed up for housing for Fall 2010 semester signed a contract acknowledging that they would be living in an active construction zone and that they would have to be prepared for the inconveniences that come with it.

During the past few months, numerous meetings were held to explain the plans for renovations in the NAA and how the construction would affect student living areas.

Students have also voiced concerns about the effects that the construction may have on the air quality of the nearby rooms as a result of poor air circulation.

In response these concerns, Morrison said that the type of air conditioning system in the North Avenue apartments would not allow for dirty air from the outside to be circulated within the building.

He explained that the current air system is water based; a fan blowing over a pipe containing either hot or cold water powers it. As a result, it is not a forced air system. He also said that it allows for very little air circulation from room to room and even less from outside to the building interior.

Before construction began, housing polled students to gauge whether or not they preferred standard blinds or mandatory window coverings to address any privacy concerns that the construction might cause. The poll found that students preferred having control over whether their windows were open or closed (via blinds) rather than having them covered by the construction company.

“All students have blinds, so they can control whether or not they have them open or closed. It is at their discretion,” Morrison said.

Even so, some students have been dissatisfied with their lack of privacy.

The project involves significant alterations to the existing structures at North Avenue. According to Morrison, the retail businesses that previously occupied spaces were inadequate for housing the new dining hall.

Housing officials state that all construction will be completely internal by Jan. 2011. The dining hall is scheduled to be completed in time for a soft opening by June 2011.

The new dining hall will seat approximately 300 people and will be in the format of an ‘all you care to eat’ facility. It will offer students late night opreating hours and a variety of dining options.