Navigating North Campus has left some students “confused” during syllabus week, as the on-going One World Café construction, which began May 20, has led to certain areas being closed off.
The construction of the 50,000-square-foot café is taking place between North Campus’ Capen Hall and Norton Hall, causing congestion in the spine. CannonDesign, a Buffalo-based design firm handling the café’s construction, has temporarily closed entrances to Capen and Norton under the first-floor overhang and the Norton entrance near Founders Plaza. The elevator and staircase in Knox Hall and the staircase leading to the first floor of Capen are also temporarily closed, as Silverman’s first-floor printing station has been moved to the second floor along with roughly 50 computer stations.
University Facilities has placed at least 100 signs in and around the areas affected by the construction to guide students, created a One World Café construction website for updates and renamed elevators in Capen to “simplify” getting to Silverman Library and administrative offices.
Facilities has also placed roughly five to seven volunteers near closed off areas to help students find their classes during syllabus week.
Robert Baril, a senior psychology and Spanish major, is one of the volunteers. He said he typically takes tunnels to get to his classes but now walks outside to avoid the “confusion and crowdedness” inside.
“It’s just been a lot of busy work because a lot of people are confused about why there are no stairs and why there is no elevator access,” Baril said. “But usually when they hear about the redirecting, they get kind of confused and kind of upset.”
Jennifer Markee, strategic operations manager for 1Capen, said the volunteers stand near Capen, Norton and Talbert Halls “to help members of the campus community find their way.”
“We are not waiting for students to come to us; we approach them as they walk by if they look confused, and proactively offer support,” Markee said.
But students have to adapt to walking to the new temporary printing station on the second floor of Capen. UBIT said its Tech Squad hasn’t received any student complaints about the new station location but has received questions about the changes.
“Mostly, people want to know why things are changing, and how to find what they need around campus,” UBIT representatives wrote in an email. “Everyone is still getting used to the changes while also navigating a new course schedule, which can definitely be challenging.”
The current location is temporary, according to UBIT, which has hired more staff for its Tech Squad on the third-floor service desk in Silverman in order to serve students during construction.
UBIT wrote in an email it is working with a UBIT Student Advisory Group and surveyed over 4,500 students last fall to find ways to improve students’ printing experience. It plans to place more printing stations across campus and kiosks in some residence halls to allow students to print 24/7, according to the email.
Students should become accustomed to the new North Campus layout, as One World Café is expected to open in 2021, according to its construction website.
Alexandra Moyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @AlexandraMoyen.
Alexandra Moyen is the senior features editor of The Spectrum.