Stetson-Sawyer project noise spurs complaints from students, residents

Construction on the Stetson-Sawyer project recently moved from a five to a six-day schedule in order to allow the project to complete its fall milestones. This year’s early severe weather has made reaching the project’s deadlines for completing the construction on the new library’s foundations on more difficult. Although the construction team begins work at 8 a.m., an hour later than the traditional construction start time, students – especially those who live close to the construction site in Dodd neighborhood – have complained of a loud banging noise disrupting their mornings.

On Oct. 19, Project Manager Bruce Decoteau wrote in Daily Messages that the “present intensity of ledge removal” – the cause of the hammering sound – would continue through the end of October, and then “occur intermittently over the following couple of months.” Decoteau sent an additional Daily Message on Oct. 21 specifying the addition of Saturday mornings to the library project’s construction schedule. He also added that there would be  an extension of the construction workday to 6:30 p.m. to make more progress.

Although the site is closest to Sewall and Lehman Houses, students living in Dodd Circle, Morgan and Currier Quad are reporting disturbing noise due to construction. The most common complaint is that students who live near the site are being woken up by the noise at an undesirable hour on both weekdays and weekends.

While the College is taking student complaints into account, the construction team can do very little to alleviate these concerns if the project is to remain on schedule. Decoteau explained that the general industry standard for the beginning of the workday is 7 a.m., and campus construction contracts “always specify that [they] do not start construction work on campus before 8:00 a.m. out of respect for the fact that this is a residential campus, and projects like this are also close to residential neighborhoods.”

An additional effect of the oncoming winter is that daylight hours are reduced. As a result, Decoteau said that construction “simply can’t start any later” in the day.

The project team recognizes that construction projects are disruptive to everyday life at the College, and they are doing “everything [they] can to minimize this impact,” Decoteau said.

According to Vice President for Campus Life Steve Klass, the construction milestones likely will not be met until the end of the fall. “We are going to try to reduce the number of Saturdays, but until we [reach] the milestones we need to, we are going to stick to the six day schedule,” Klass said. “The good news is that the really noisy part of it should be over by the end of the week or close to it.”

According to Decoteau, the first principle discussed at the project’s pre-construction meeting was the objective to “reduce the impact of all aspects of this project on the lives of students, faculty and staff who live, study and work here.”

  • Mr Carter

    Williams has been experiencing non stop construction like this for the last 20 plus years. The school cannot seem to stop building things. There is a tone here that blames the construction workers for noise on a building project that the school bought and paid for. That is off… and a bit strange. The administration who levied these plans, set aside the land, and payed this company to do a job under contract is to blame for the decades of noise folks… not the the construction companies.

    Will “Williams Under construction” ever end? One has to wonder. When do the town residents and students get to enjoy some time at peace without the sound of a jackhammer in the background again? Never?

    Look at the bright side though, at least the residents can feel good knowing that all these projects will produce zero revenue. .. and you students can get some cool pics of you living next to a beautiful purple mud puddle for four years.

    Please, stop building stuff.