IU has paused several construction projects, including residential renovations and new academic spaces, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some new projects and those already in progress have been able to move forward.
IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said construction on the new facility for the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture, and Design and already underway residential hall construction was able to move forward. The first priority for university construction is to expand housing availability and the North Housing addition, which was underway when the pandemic hit and is currently in-progress, he said.
Carney said this addition combined with recently renovated locations that opened earlier this year will house more students.
“We think that this will put us in a good situation as we start to return to something that is a little bit more normal, we hope, with the fall semester,” Carney said.
Carney said renovations to the Collins Living-Learning Center, which was expected to be completed by July 2021, and the construction of the Ferguson International Center, which was expected to be completed by June 2021 and which will consolidate international services and study in one space, are still on hold due to the pandemic.
“It's largely where it has been for a while,” Carney said.
The new facility for the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design, is on schedule and should be completed by June 2021, Carney said.
The university was able to move forward with the construction of the new Eskenazi facility because it was funded by private funds, not state funds, Carney said. The facility has an external budget of $10,000,000, and Carney said the university could move forward on construction because of the gift made by the Eskenazi family.
“We're trying to be cognizant of what is needed and what is necessary and what is also wise to do at this point,” Carney said.
Though Carney said the university is thinking about what is necessary to construction on campus, some students said they feel the renovations are disruptive.
Freshman Marissa Ryan lives in McNutt Quad, which is undergoing construction this year. Despite benefits like new flooring, construction has made it more difficult to get around the residential area and has limited parking, she said.
“That's a little aggravating. If we ever call a Lyft ride or if we get Doordash food, we don't really know if they're allowed to be over there,” Ryan said. “We don't want to put the construction workers at risk that are working over there if we have cars going through it.”
Ryan said that while she is looking forward to the finished renovations and improved parking circle, she wishes she would have known she would be unable to use parts of the building due to renovations.
“I also don't think that they've done a great job at keeping us up to date with the plans for that,” Ryan said.
Construction on IU’s campus has also impacted members of the Bloomington community. David Frew, Bloomington Parkour founder and coach organizer, said he always appreciates when IU fixes areas with crumbling bricks and walls because it means they’ve noticed it.
Frew said he believes it is important to invest in lasting architecture for the community.
“I feel that, not just for my own selfish purposes but for the community in general, that it is a worthy goal to build lasting and appealing edifices,” Frew said.
Students and members of the Bloomington community can find more information on current and past construction projects here.