Construction on the Frist Health Center continues after hours, upsetting some students

Construction on the Frist Health Center continues after hours, upsetting some students
Construction on the Frist Health Center continues after hours, upsetting some students

As construction continues on campus, night work is underway at the site of the new Frist Health Center. While the Princeton Town Ordinance limits the hours construction can take place between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., the university is exempt. Scully Hall resident Julia Zhou ’24 noticed and reported the late-night operation to the Office of Public Safety (PSAFE) on two separate occasions since the start of spring break, telling The Daily Princetonian that the noise and light at night were destructive.

In an interview with The Prince, Zhou explained that she heard and saw construction going on until 1 a.m., including a «continuous beeping sound» and people in high-visibility clothing operating cranes at the construction site. Zhou said studying in her room was difficult because of construction noise and working late at night meant it was «really hard for her to start falling asleep».

The Princeton Township Ordinance requires that construction not take place anytime on Sundays or later than 6pm or before 7am on all other days of the week. On Saturdays, work cannot start before 8 am. Outside of these hours, construction can only proceed «in the event of an urgent need in the interest of public health and safety.»

Work outside of normal business hours also requires «the prior procurement of a permit … by the municipal engineer or building official,» in accordance with the terms of Section 21-2(i) of the Princeton City Ordinance.

According to university spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill, the March 19 night work at the site was deemed necessary because it «obstructs the driveway» and therefore creates unsafe conditions for workers during regular business hours. The shift was scheduled for 3-11pm on Tuesday March 19, but «the crew ran into a problem and the planned 11pm finish was delayed».

Morrill added that «it is not necessary to obtain a permit for work that takes place on campus,» but «it is the university’s practice to involve the municipal engineer when impact issues are anticipated, such as noise at night or late at night «.

The Frist Health Center construction site is located at the intersection of Guyot Lane and Goheen Walk near the Butler College residence halls. Frist Health Center is to replace McCosh Health Center as the site for campus health services.

Although students were not directly notified of the work until late at night, Morrill explained that «students were informed through various means, including mirror stickers in all public restrooms on campus, that they could contact the Facilities Services Center regarding construction concerns.»

Additionally, Section 2.2.1 of the Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities states that «Residents of the dormitory concerned about excessive noise should feel free to call the Public Safety Officers for assistance at any time.»

Zhou told The Prince that she first contacted PSAFE on Tuesday, March 12, during spring break, then contacted them again on Monday, March 18, because of the concern caused by the noise.

She explained that the construction workers «finally left around 2 a.m. and then started again at their usual time in the morning» on March 19. On March 12, the site was cleared prior to the arrival of PSAFE.

Morrill writes that “the work is scheduled for the week of spring break. Due to bad weather, the project has been extended until next week.” That work has now been completed, according to Morrill.

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Construction of the Frist Health Center is expected to be completed in 2025. Although a use for the current McCosh Health Center has not yet been announced, ideas such as a graduate center and campus pub have been suggested by students.

Other students expressed frustration with the ongoing campus construction, suggesting that it «widens the existing gap» between different parts of the campus and creates dissatisfaction and a sense of dissatisfaction with the circulating campus.

Victoria Davies is assistant news editor for Prince.

Please send all corrections to the corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.

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