Dalhousie engineering students fed up with campus construction noise
'If we can't hear the professor at all, what are we supposed to do?' says student Mike Henick
Some Dalhousie University engineering students say noise from construction taking place on campus is so bad they can't hear their professors on some days.
The university is constructing two new buildings and renovating five others as part of a $64-million project.
Jackhammering, beeps from trucks backing up, welding and moving cranes are just some of the noises students say they have been exposed to.
"If we can't hear the professor at all, what are we supposed to do?" said Mike Henick, the class representative for chemical engineering students.
Student says university is saying little
Students are struggling academically because of the construction, and the university has done little to communicate with students about the problem, Henick told the CBC's Maritime Noon.
"If there has been things done, it hasn't been made readily known to the student base, which I think would go a long way toward us feeling like our year here at Dalhousie wasn't just one thrown away to benefit the future," he said.
In a statement, the university said it's attempting to complete as much disruptive work as possible on weekends, evenings and early mornings to accommodate class schedules.
"Student success is our most important priority through this project and we have been proactively working with all faculty and student societies to work through any issues of concern like this," said the statement. "At times, however, this kind of disruption cannot be avoided."
Work needs to be done by spring 2018
The university said since half the funding for the project is coming from the federal government's Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, the work has to be done by spring 2018 to qualify for funding.
"We will do whatever is possible to ensure the needs of students and their education comes first," said the statement.
Student Michael Scarth said the situation is especially frustrating because of tuition increases engineering students have faced in recent years. In April 2016, the university approved a three per cent general tuition increase across all programs, and engineering students faced an additional hike of 3.3 per cent per year for three years.
Quality of education is 'a lot lower'
"We did see a pretty hefty tuition hike this year and the quality of education that we're receiving this year is a lot lower than the previous year," said Scarth.
He said the university should refund the difference in tuition because of the hassles students have faced.
Because of the construction work, students have had classes and labs moved.
"We have large groups of people, upwards of 80 students in classrooms that barely hold 80 students.… We've had a loss of study space for students, which is making it very difficult to finish our work around campus," said Henick.
With files from CBC's Maritime Noon