By Sarah Carlson, Arts Editor
Construction on the Walk/Jog track has progressed around the perimeter of campus to East North 16th Street, with an expected finish set for April.
Temporary entrance closures for Sikes, Gardner, Nelson and McDonald residence halls can be expected at least through the week after spring break while the construction workers build the track.
Those rushing to be on time for a class should be aware of these closures and allow adequate time to find parking, said Jimmy Ellison, chief of ACU Police.
“It can be frustrating to arrive to class with minutes to spare, only to find out that the entrance you normally take on campus is close,” Ellison said.
For students having trouble finding parking, he said, the new parking lot at University Church of Christ is now open, adding 141 spaces for on-campus parking. The lot can be accessed from Washington Boulevard and is adjacent to the already existing lot on the corner of Washington and East North 16th Street.
Ellison sent a campuswide e-mail March 1 detailing the closures, and said the Police Department is working with Bontke Brothers Construction Company to notify the campus community of traffic problems caused by the construction.
Ellison has also been notified of problems the construction workers have had with students writing in the wet cement.
“Our concrete crews have had to stop work on the trail and repair or otherwise eradicate the damage,” said Bob Nevill, director of Physical Resources, in an e-mail. “Fortunately, the large majority of our students are very responsible, and these problems have been minimal.”
Ellison said the majority of the graffiti occurred while the track was being constructed along Campus Court in front of Mabee and Edwards halls and the Brown Library. He said he doesn’t want to blow the issue out of proportion, but he wants students to be sensitive to the fact that a certain donor contributed a large amount of money for the track to be built.
“There’s a donor who’s very graciously given money to the university for this track,” Ellison said. “It’s sad to see graffiti every 10 feet. Seeing ‘Johnny loves Susie’ engraved into sidewalks doesn’t really sit well with the donor when he tours the track he helped pay for.”
Construction on the track began in November, with workers pouring concrete and installing lights as they go. Nevill said activating the lights takes longer than constructing the track because they must terminate electrical wiring, backfill trenches and secure local government inspections and utility connections. He also said most of the landscaping for the trail should be completed by the beginning of June.
Nevill said the construction will continue down East North 16th Street for most of March.