Editorial: Fifth Street construction comes at inopportune time for students

RailroadThere is a divide on campus. Literally. Fences spanning from Speight Circle to MP Daniel Esplanade have split campus right down the middle.

The rendering of the new fountain on Fountain Mall is beautiful. Once the fountain is built and revealed, it will be a great centerpiece for campus. Beyond that, the fountain won’t disrupt traffic. Vehicles will still be able to travel down Fifth Street. People will still be able to walk.

Until then, however, the street is almost completely blocked. This is one of the busiest areas of campus. Some students have had to change their daily routines in order to make it to class on time, especially as they attempt to skirt the fences.

Overall, it’s exciting that a fountain is finally returning to Fountain Mall. A new drainage system, water line and sewer line are also going to be much-needed additions. But the construction comes at an inconvenient time for students.

If construction had waited two weeks, classes would be over, finals would have begun and students would be headed off to their summer destinations.

Fifth Street is very crowded during the day, so that area has seen a lot of backup as students attempt to traverse it.

Students who normally ride bicycles, motorcycles or mopeds to class also have to find a new route. This wouldn’t have been as much of an inconvenience if the construction had been started later.

One of the biggest disadvantages of starting construction on campus at such an inconvenient time is the disruption the construction has caused to the Bear Trail.

The Bear Trail has not been directly affected by the Fifth Street construction. However, other construction projects on campus have disrupted the Bear Trail. The detours from these projects do go through campus — toward Fifth Street.

The trail is one of the most frequent places students run or walk and talk with friends while strolling.

Several markers along the trail have had to be rerouted as a result of the construction, causing frustration among students who frequent the trail. In addition, the altered route is somewhat confusing as it does not have visible signs pointing to the detour.

It seems that the university, at a time where stress and tension are most high during finals, would have done everything in its power not to hinder this route for students.

For many, exercising along Baylor’s scenic routes is a way to release stress and stay healthy. Preventing students from doing so was surely an unintended consequence, but a consequence nonetheless.

Some students took to Twitter and Yik Yak to describe their frustration. One Tweet read, “Really irritated that Baylor didn’t just wait a few weeks to start construction and went ahead and blocked the entire center of campus.”

This is one of many complaints on social media outlets.

Some students have been able to make light of the inconvenience, which is really the only thing to do at this point.

This construction has caused quite a stir on campus, and, unfortunately, there is not anything students can do besides plan ahead for a congested Fifth Street and rerouted Bear Trail.

Baylor should consider the timing of such projects in the future, as it has done in the past with construction in residence and dining halls.

This time Baylor missed the mark.