We just have to

Our program moved into temporary quarters at the new campus this semester and we have been watching the construction site closely. They ripped out the lovely Japanese garden and are putting in a stone terrace...

Anyway, the only way out of our building is through the courtyard. There is another door, but it is in one of the labs. This means everyone coming in and out of the building would have to tramp through the lab. Not to speak of the dirt they truck in, but I imagine this would be like teaching at the main train stations. At least there would not be PA announcements every few minutes.

The building department had asked us if they could do this in September. We said flat out "NO!" and suggested that they organize something so that we can enter the building during the semester. Like postpone this work until February.

Yesterday I wanted to get to the building, on account of having class there. But there was a fence in my way. I just grabbed and pushed it - and got yelled at by some workman. I should go around. Sure. I went around, but could not get to the building.

So I got on the phone and started to complain. How are we to teach in the middle of the semester when we can't set foot in the building? Was anyone informed of this? Why can't we be given notice so we can plan for alternatives?

This morning the guy in charge of overseeing the construction was there. He normally works in another location. I don't comprehend how you can oversee a construction site by telepathy. He needs to be on location, every day, and talk with everyone. And think ahead, with a goal of keeping the university running.

He walked around with me and said: we have to open this emergency door. I tried to explain why it would not work, and he answered in his normal, insolent manner, just shrugging it off. There are lots of lecture rooms available.

I blew my stack. You cannot conduct a LAB that needs MACHINES in a lecture hall! And the lecture halls are booked out for certain time slots, so we have to have lectures in our tiny seminar room. He needs to help figure out how we can keep teaching during the construction. "Oh," he says. "There are lots of electrical cables here." YES. We don't have wireless electricity yet. I stormed out and went to call our administrative assistant and have him sort something out.

I collected up my students, found a warm corner with some electricity, and we worked on our laptops. Got an email from the VP secretary for me to call. I went to my office and called, thinking that he was going to help us. Noooo, he wanted to tell me to not scream at the guy responsible for construction. I managed not to scream at the VP, but told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to get something done and to tell this guy to not be so damn insolent.

We agreed to have the construction stop in front of the door, have the fence put back, and close up Friday and Monday, giving us some time to organize something. But as we worked I watched the digger dig its way towards the building. Just before noon - when folks were storming from the lectures to the labs, they dug out the last way to enter the building, cutting the cable for the security system in the process.

One colleague moved his 4 hour class to a lab that is open for the next 2 hours. One colleague did move to a lecture hall because half his students had laptops. But in 2 hours the next group would show up, and all hell would ensue.

I called the VP again, incensed. He agreed to come down and have a look. He did, and just shrugged - there is nothing we can do now, we'll have to open up the emergency exit in the lab and have everyone truck through.

So they managed to get what they wanted, thoroughly disrupting our last two weeks of intensive instruction before Christmas. And we get to make do again. How on earth will the massive move next year go, if so much chaos ensues for such a small thing. I asked the VP that, and he answered: Oh, the construction will be done by then.

He really does not understand that we have to PLAN so that things work right, not just let things happen and then react.



Jim Horning said...

You ain't seen nuthin' yet! Just try conducting a seminar while a pile driver is pounding in the posts that will support a new wing of your building...

WiseWoman said...

Oh, we have these too on occasion. You think the building is coming down around your ears.

And they drill holes in something, sounds like steel...

Don't get me started on the dump trucks, that park, motor running, outside the lab windows.....