Tensions crop up amidst construction woes

Construction projects throughout campus leave students and faculty conflicted about their completion.


John Patrick Uy


Samantha Gassaway, Writer


Construction projects throughout campus leave students and faculty conflicted about their completion.  |  John Uy/THE CHIMES


Members of biology and art communities alike have expressed frustration about the construction of the new Alton and Lydia Lim Center for Science, Technology and Health at the former Art department offices near McNally Field. While the general sentiment is excited anticipation, it also comes with unanticipated anxiety.


While Biology students eagerly await new equipment in the new building, cinema and media arts students are frustrated with the displacement and loss of large areas for filming. Biology professors are disgruntled at the lack of acknowledgement in replacing equipment used in teaching labs. Art professors are displaced, but not discouraged.

Jarvis Perkins, sophomore human biology major, said his professors have mentioned the new building with pure excitement.

“There has to be something good coming from the construction, because also they’re going to be getting new equipment. Because I know a lot of the stuff that we have here is backdated and old,” Perkins said. “It’s more of aesthetics, because we still get the same job done with the old equipment, unless the new equipment makes it more efficient.”


Large peaks in admissions are expected, simply because of what the building will have to offer, said Matt Cruzen, associate professor and chair of biological sciences. Cruzen also mentioned that professors from the many departments in the science division have lost their offices.

“When we do tours of other schools that just put up a new building, they saw a dramatic increase [in applicants]. If you build it, they will come,” Cruzen said. “We’re growing so much. I don’t have an office, we have other faculty that don’t have offices either, and they’ve been displaced to places like Sigma or the Grove which is way far away from where the action is.”


Interestingly, Cruzen reported a hold on the purchase of new science equipment for the building, as the school’s priorities have shifted since the beginning of the building’s construction. He articulated that Biola is more interested in simply finishing the building before they begin filling it with state-of-the-art equipment.

“It would be nice to have the building fully equipped when we walk in day one. But that’s going to be a process, I think. And we’re going to have to wait for things like end-of-year surplus funds to bring everything up to current,” Cruzen said. “We are technologically relevant at present. But to maintain technical relevancy, there needs to be built into the budget replacement of equipment.”


The Art and Cinema Media departments have other concerns. When construction began over interterm of 2016, classes and offices for the Art department were displaced dramatically.

“It’s a little frustrating for sure,” said Shelby Jacobsen, junior cinema and media arts major. “I would say the students are frustrated with it, but they understand.”

For cinema and media arts students, filming around campus without violent construction disturbances can be tricky. Jacobsen has experienced several obstructions in searching for places to film around campus that have long since been go-to sets for coffee shop scenes and other film needs.

“We are, in the Art Department, pretty committed to maintaining positive energy and a kind of winsomeness, and really a gratitude for what the university is accomplishing through the construction,” said Jonathan Anderson, associate professor of art. “So if it pinches us for now, we can use that space as well as we can and be glad for the university as a whole that is benefitting from it.”

Students and faculty in the art department continue to eagerly wait for its completion with a broad range of emotion and expectation.

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