Andersen: Construction changing face of University

One of the most benign and intriguing events I witnessed in the dorms probably wouldn’t strike many others as anything but ordinary. My buddy’s dad walked into Willcox Hall, my freshman year residence hall, and started telling him college stories from back in his day. His mouth smiled mischievously and his eyes glazed over as he walked over to a window and pointed across the courtyard to Henderson Hall, the dorm adjacent to my own.

The “dorm days” of which he spoke so fondly happened just a couple hundred feet where his son now lived.

I look forward to the day when I can bring my son or daughter to the University and point out where some of my craziest days happened. Not only the dorms, but the surrounding area as well: last year’s house, this year’s apartment, buildings here and there — it’s something that I can think about now and smile at the pride I know I will feel — or will I?

I rode down East 13th Avenue the other day for the sole purpose of taking in the sights. Finally, construction on Fenton Hall is finishing up, Lillis is completely uncovered and it seems, for now, that construction on campus is coming to a pause.

Dig a little deeper. Allen Hall is being completely redone (set to finish Winter term 2012), the bus stop on Kincaid Street and the grass fields on East 18th Avenue and Agate Street are following suit, and the University is building new dorms across from both the Bean Complex on Moss Street and the Lewis Integrative Science Building behind the rest of the science complex. Allen Gidley, @@http://housing.uoregon.edu/about/[email protected]@the senior associate director of housing,@@[email protected]@ says the crumbling Hamilton, Walton and Bean dormitories need an abundance of attention, though as of yet no funding or planning has been set in stone. The sites have been rumored to be demolished for parking structures and new dormitories.

“Wait, wait, wait; pump your brakes. Are you telling me that I will not have a journalism school to study in or show off, but I will also lack a dorm to show my future family?”@@Quotes? I don’t think so…and shouldn’t that be ‘Not only will I…’@@

Yes, I believe that’s about right.

Don’t get me wrong; I think all the new buildings and resources around campus are going to be great, to say the least. I think that students will use the beautiful new tools accessible to them.

But man, what a bummer. At the pace that the University has been growing, by the time I have a family (well down the road), the last familiar sights still standing will be Deady Hall and the Pioneer Cemetery.

This goes along with all of Eugene. Those of us lucky enough to attend the University are now stuck in this transitional limbo between the old, small, homey University and the new, stainless, futuristic superpower. Multistory apartment complexes seem to be going up every week. Houses are being torn down to make way for bigger, better and more expensive things. At least we can say we survived the “Construction Era,” [email protected]@This paragraph I actually [email protected]@

Oregon is sprinting away from the University I fell in love with; it’s turning into a city school, much like the ones I turned down. When I came here, I loved the “Eugene feel.” I loved that every building was short. I loved that you could get to the tallest building on campus (PLC’s whopping eight stories) and see over most everything else to the walls of the Willamette [email protected]@walls of the [email protected]@ At the top of Spencer Butte on a clear day, you can see the city seemingly swallowed by evergreen trees, not high rises or bustling streets. I drool over the views that I’ve experienced in Eugene. What happens when these same views are choked from sight?

Within a decade or two, Eugene will have a different face. Maybe I’m just a small-town guy, but I’m not excited. I don’t want to see this school become a superpower. I love that Eugene is so different and such an experience. It may not be the most fun experience all the time, but it is almost always a rewarding one.

The campus is turning more and more into an overfilled water balloon over a favorite book: The material will still be there, but it will be warped, unusable and thrown aside like the others.

It’s sad to see.

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