Freshmen React to Living Next to CEER Construction


Simpson Hall is surrounded by the CEER construction.

Sarah Sweeney, Co-News Editor

Last October, the University announced plans to expand and renovate the Center for Engineering Education and Research, colloquially known amongst the engineering students, for whom it serves as home base, as CEER. 


The 150,000 square-foot addition will more than double CEER’s current size, creating space for the entire engineering department – currently split amongst six different buildings – to be hosted in a single location. As a part of the University’s Strategic Plan, “Rooted. Restless.,” the project is designed to foster connections and facilitate collaboration, as well as emphasize hands-on, problem-oriented and team-based learning. It will include a 63% increase in overall teaching and research lab space, state-of the art learning spaces, improvements to office and computing space for post-graduate students and a community space. 


However, students have a while to wait before getting to experience the new labs and community space, with an expected completion date of Fall 2024. Meanwhile, students get a host of other experiences, which, for some living close to the construction site, entails noise, dust and longer walks to class.


Those most affected by the construction include those living in the freshmen main campus dorms, including Fedigan, Simpson, Delury and O’Dwyer, which are feet from the construction site. Fortunately, a number of students have described their experience living next to the construction site as having little to no impact on their living conditions. Students also received a $500 per semester refund on their housing costs as compensation for any inconvenience they may experience.


Gianna Ciccimarra is a freshman VSB student living in Fedigan Hall. In regards to noise, Ciccimarra said she hadn’t heard it once.


 “I honestly forgot it was happening, until today a parent came up to me and asked about it,” she said.


Her roommate Emily Curran, a freshman Computer Engineer, explained that “you hear it when you’re walking past, and it’s big and dusty, which is really the only annoying part.” Ciccimarra added that it’s easily avoidable if one takes a different route. 


Sophia Wiley is a freshman living in Simpson Hall. The construction occurs right outside her bedroom window, and she explained that she hears it every morning. 


“Since I’m right here next to the construction, I’d say [the noise] is like a 6/10 at its height,” Wiley said. “It doesn’t bother me too much, but I think as it gets further into the semester, if I have to study or something, it might be a little more annoying.”


Sonia Marhefka, a freshman Physics major living in O’Dwyer, hasn’t been too affected by the construction. 


“Unless I really listen for [the noise], I don’t really hear it,” she said. “I usually just drown it out. It’s not obnoxious, but it’s definitely there.”. 


However, students shared that their biggest problem with the construction site overwhelmingly was not the noise. 


“[Walking by the construction site] is not very fun,” Marhefka said. “It’s a little bit scary. There’s so many people going by, and I don’t want to get in their way or step somewhere wrong.”


“It almost blocks you off from the rest of campus,” Wiley said. “A lot of people on South don’t know that there’s any dorms over here, since all they see is construction. It’s already isolating living on Main, but having the construction as a barrier between us and the rest of campus is hard.”


Students were also overwhelmingly content with the compensation they received from the school. 


“I definitely would have wished for a little bit more, but I think it’s fair, considering they’re giving it to so many people,” Marhefka shared.


“I think it’s fair,” Wiley agreed. “It’s not really hindering my experience too much, so I think $500 [per semester] is pretty fair.” 


Conall Dougherty is a freshman Electrical Engineering major living in Fedigan Hall. He explained that living next to the construction site “has been pretty neutral,” but that his main emotion about the construction is excitement. 


“Most of my engineering classes are in Garey, so it’d definitely be easier if they were in CEER,” he said. “As long as I get to see it, it’ll be cool. I’m excited.”