Construction on Campus: 5 Reasons It’s Cute and Quirky

Things that I know as fact: the earth is round, gravity keeps my feet on the ground and Pitt is in a constant state of construction. Since the beginning of time, the sun has risen in the east and has set in the west, and Pitt has continued to ~improve~ the academic environment that we all pay a shiny penny to live in. In recent years, the University of Pittsburgh has created a 30-year plan to completely change the appearance of our campus for future generations. This 30-year plan seems to be quite the task, so Pitt has made the decision to demolish the old and build new classrooms, streets and recreational areas. While this may lead to a prettier campus in the future, it’s causing bits and pieces of the campus to go into chaos. Let’s look at our favorite things about Pitt’s construction right now…

  1. 1. Bigelow’s big change

    Bigelow Boulevard is notorious for its placement between the wonderous, extravagant, all-serving Cathedral of Learning and the useful William Pitt Union. Bigelow is the epicenter of campus, where most students can be seen crossing from class to class, or at least that’s how it used to be. Bigelow, now in a state of construction, is supposedly being transformed to a euphoric transport-centered getaway (they are fixing pipes and adding a few plants). With Bigelow Boulevard under major construction, students get peaks into the depths of h*ll with the deep craters and horrid noises coming from the construction site. Sometimes students get a look into the real lives of construction workers when Britney Spears blares over the cranes and drills, or when the mysterious gates blocking the construction from the public eyes open for additional construction trucks to enter the site. Another ~BIG~ plus is that Bigelow’s blockage has promoted students’ overall physical health. As a result of the main street being blocked, many students are now running from class to class because of the additional time that their new detours require. It was a really nice surprise during fall semester to wake up and realize cardio would now be a part of my class to class routine. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier. 

  2. 2. The Cathedral's facelift, beauty from the inside out

    Our beloved Cathy is becoming old and gray with age (JK, she was born that way). But, seriously, many different classrooms inside the Cathedral have been under construction for a more modern, functional and quite cold look. Whether it’s to meet some sort of health code standards or really to just improve the overall quality of the education environment, students get to savor that sweet, sweet smell of sawdust. These new cathedral classrooms take the cozy comfort away from the ground floor classrooms and instead provide a cold (yet somehow insulated) place for learning. To be frank, who wants to study in a bright, nice, new, clean place anyway? Personally, being terrified from the noise on the third floor is just a nice way to spice up the day.

  3. 3. Starbucks, a beacon of light in the darkness

    As a result of the front of the Union being in complete shambles, Starbucks has sort of become the new Union. Some of you are probably saying, “WHAT??? How can a coffee chain be a University Center?” Well, since you asked, let me tell you why. Not only does this billion-dollar chain provide the best burnt coffee you have ever tasted, it also provides a nice, warm shortcut from the front of WPU to the bus stop on Fifth Avenue. As a result of the mass of destruction in front of WPU, Starbucks has provided a clean, kind oasis from the impending doom of it all. Whoever’s business plan it was to have construction in front of the WPU, Starbucks should give you a raise since you’re bringing them the BIG bucks.

  4. 4. Hectic Hillman

    In the 2018-2019 school year, students were barred from the fourth floor of the library due to renovations. When the mysterious happenings of the fourth floor were finally revealed, we were given a shiny, new, quiet floor. Can you imagine having a school with all of its study spaces available and open for student use? I think that is a luxury we don’t pay enough for; our tuition dollars should be hard at work providing a better study space for generations not even born yet. I am currently a sophomore, and even though I am no math major, I am just going to do some quick algebra. If the fourth floor was done my freshman year, the third floor my sophomore year, the second floor will be done my junior year, and then the first floor my senior year (assuming I graduate in four years). This quick math equation shows that even with a super-senior year, I personally would not be present on the University of Pittsburgh campus to see the new-and-improved Hillman Library. I don’t know about you, but since I’m here at college for academic reasons, I feel like it’s a valid point to want all study spaces to be available for the academic school year? BUT, that’s just me.

  5. 5. The aesthetic of it all

    In recent years, aesthetic has really been a huge emerging concept.  Not only is there the VSCO girl, e-girl and skater boy, there is even the more niche Construction Campus. This aesthetic is really brought to life in the bright colors of construction signs, scattering of rubble and loud pounding noises. I would say personally, this is my favorite aesthetic. It really encapsulates the true resentment held for old things and the longing for shiny, new things. Not only that, but the blue tarps found covering various sites really help to illuminate the amount of Pitt pride on campus. Imagine a prospective student touring, seeing the presence of neon yellow signs and blue tarps everywhere. The only thing that they can be thinking is, “Wow, the amount of school pride present at Pitt is really beautiful!” Truly, nothing shows school pride like a hustling, bustling construction site.

Now, I know that this article was really focused on the negatives of construction on campus, but 2020 is a year of self-improvement so I guess I wouldn’t expect any less from Pitt. Also, with all this roadwork, hopefully Pitt can avoid what the downtown area of the Steel City could not, a pot-hole big enough to swallow a bus.