Sunday, July 21, 2024

Sibley Hall roof shakes under fall construction

Sibley Hall has been under construction since the beginning of this semester. While the structural updates are necessary, professors and students have taken issue with the construction process.

Keith Cressey, State University Construction Fund site representative, said Sibley Hall is receiving a new rubber-based, leak-proof roof that will last over 30 years.

Recently, the roof has been leaking, causing disruptions throughout the building, said Patrick Coppens, Ph.D., co-chair and program director of communication sciences and disorders.  

Coppens recognizes the need for the construction, but he feels uneasy having to wipe dust off of his surfaces every morning after the construction.

The vibration from the work above causes deposits from the ceiling to settle on surfaces throughout the building. He showed how thick the dust is on his desk by swiping his hand across the top of his laptop, leaving clear trails of contrast between the black surface and the white dust.

Junior communication sciences and disorders student Stephanie Palacios noticed the piling dust as well. She and her professors share the same uneasy feeling about the dust as Coppens when everyone must wipe down their area to get ready for class.

Cressey has assured that the dust is harmless particles falling from the ceiling due to the work from above.

Noise is also a problem. A release from the Provost’s Office says that construction will run Monday through Friday from 5:30 to 8 a.m. to avoid excessive noise during classes. Coppens and other faculty wonder if this is true, for they hear noise on the roof throughout the day.

“One guy is going to end up on my desk, it’s so noisy,” Coppens said, meaning that based off of the noise, he wouldn’t be surprised if a worker fell through the ceiling.

To Palacios, the biggest disruption from the construction is the noise during class.

“If you’re giving a presentation, it can be distracting,” she said. “It’s hard to focus in class when all you hear are footsteps on the roof.”

The noise isn’t only coming from the roof. Palacios also said that the noise of the worker’s equipment outside on the ground makes it hard to focus as well.

Cressey clarified what noise he and students are hearing during the day. From 5:30 to 8 a.m., workers are tearing up the old roof, a job that is especially loud. Workers still need to tend to the roof during the day because whatever is ripped off needs to be replaced that day to ensure it’s waterproof.

When asked why the construction is happening now, instead of during a summer session, Cressey said the contract was not released until late summer, and the roof needed to be replaced as soon as possible.

The Speech and Hearing Center located in Sibley services the community’s speech and hearing disorders. It is a place where students get hands-on training with professionals and use sensitive equipment to perform tests on patients. Coppens and Palacios share a concern over the equipment being damaged by the vibrations of the building.

Coppens said the smallest vibrations can skew the results of tests, risking the diagnosis of the patient as well as the validity and reputation of the clinic.

The construction on the roof is slated to end Oct. 26. Crews are also working on replacing some of the old concrete paneling on the outside of the building as well, a project that could take longer.

Despite the attempt for silence during the day, Cressey and his crew have a roof to replace. Going forward, faculty and students will have to deal with the noise until late October, when they will be under a weather-proof roof.


Email Jacob Elsbree at

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