Rowan, have you been rushing?
On Sept. 5, it was here: the 2017-2018 academic school year. As expected, Rowan had a few new things, and with that, a few things caused headaches.
Over the summer, Nexus Properties finished A-3, another phase of the $400 million project on Rowan Boulevard, aiming to extend the university’s presence toward Glassboro’s downtown. A-3 is better known to most students and faculty as “Victoria.” The building added housing, a new fitness center, a parking garage and College of Communication and Creative Arts classrooms.
Of its many designed purposes, the building is lacking. There are parts of the building which still have utility equipment lying about. Dozens of students have grievances about the housing inside the building. The two-elevator system that leads students to their housing was broken for the most of last Saturday evening. There are leaky faucets and toilets dripping water. According to a student whose toilet was leaking for days, maintenance said, “For now, you’ll just all have to use the other one.” Along with that, air conditioning is out in several apartments. Students also complain about the beds being “as hard as rocks.” If students are living in a new complex with alleged ‘top-notch’ amenities, as Rowan Today described them, shouldn’t they be, well, completed? Students ARE paying a hefty rent of $5,340 per semester, after all.
But aside from this, the Victoria building seems to entirely disregard student safety. There are still no security cameras in hallway staircases, a vital key to security and safety on campus. Remember last year when someone was vandalizing in the Rowan Boulevard Parking Garage? Security cameras were there to identify the suspect. These cameras play an integral role in helping avoid or at least lessen criminal and sexual offenses. What happens if something occurs in the Victoria staircases?
It is safe to say thousands of students now live on or around Rowan Boulevard. But towards Mick Drive and Victoria Street, there is only one blue light pole – and that’s right next to the 301 High Street building. You know, those blue light poles that we’re supposed to be able to see one of at all times? Those blue light poles that have a button to press in case of an emergency? Shouldn’t a few more be installed near A-3, the building that’s now a hub of activity?
The Mick Drive parking garage, which is technically a part of Victoria, opened in January. It should be full now, right? But it’s not. Cars barely fill the floors. When Rowan first announced the garage, it was marketed as a solution to our school’s ongoing parking issues. Let’s analyze this separate problem: the announcement that the top floor of Townhouse Garage was no longer opened to commuters spurred further headaches. Commuters still complain on the daily about parking shortages across campus. Some of our staff members have experienced waiting in commuter lots ourselves, just scouting out a spot. Why not open the Mick Drive parking garage to commuters? Having a “free two hours,” as the rule now, is clearly not cutting it for the commuters who spend their whole day on campus. The Ellis Street lot, just beyond this area of campus, perhaps another quarter mile away, just isn’t solving the parking problem either. Students just don’t want to be parked that far away from campus. Can we blame commuters though, who’ve already driven 20 minutes to school and just don’t have the time to take another 15 minutes to ride a shuttle into campus? Pushing students to the fringes just isn’t working.
And finally, all of this construction has caused some of the university’s most recent headaches: a power outage at Barnes & Noble on the first day of classes and, most recently, the power outage at 301 W. High Street. For two days, the outage at 301 left hundreds of students wondering if class was or wasn’t canceled. For Victoria Todorova, this caused her to walk from the Ellis Street lot, to 301 High Street, to James Hall, to 301 High Street. This is no small walk. A half hour of exhausting, frustrating wasted time all due to … a backhoe, presumably aiding in the construction of the Rowan Boulevard construction project, backing into the building’s power conduit.
Rowan, you’ve been rushing.