Emaan Bangash
Commentary
POSTED
May 1, 2018

Since its opening in the 1970s, UTD now holds 27,000 students. To accommodate for this constantly growing population, we have the visitor center and bookstore, ATEC, JSOM, BSB and an upcoming new engineering research building. However, these beautiful new buildings serve as a stark contrast to the bland, incredibly old and cracking original buildings, specifically the classroom buildings and Hoblitzelle Hall. To address the concerns of maintenance, aesthetic and provide consistency between the old and new buildings, campus administration should perhaps consider upgrading them instead of constantly expanding.

There is the argument that upgrading would be purely superficial and unnecessary, since the buildings do continue to serve their purpose. However, there have been reports of Hoblitzelle Hall and the Classroom Buildings constantly facing problems such as bad smells and water damage. The Mercury reported a toilet leakage causing a flood last semester in Hoblitzelle Hall, which disrupted class and caused faculty to relocate temporarily. Additionally, there was new paint and carpets replaced after the incident.

On the exterior of Green Hall, one can notice unsightly black stains and rusty and splotchy marks on the ceilings. If not for a complete overhaul of the exterior, cleaning the stains to make the building look less ill-maintained and abandoned, even though they are less than 50 years old. Additionally, upgrading these buildings don’t always need to be purely cosmetic.

The inside of these buildings could use a little sprucing up such as more outlets, a bright paint job, smooth sliding doors, updated tiles, and more places for students to study. The drab looks and musty smell of some of the older buildings need to be addressed. There could be newer tables and chairs, similar to the modern but useful chairs in the Blackboard Launchpad building.

The old, stained doors in McDermott, one of the most frequented buildings, could be replaced with efficient sliding doors. If not for purely unification between the aesthetic of the newer and older buildings, perhaps there could be upgrades to the older buildings to make them more efficient.

Students studying in JSOM and ATEC have different experiences in the quality of the facilities, rooms and equipment compared to students studying in HH. It doesn’t seem fair that there are students paying equal amounts of tuition and having disparate quality learning experiences. The classroom buildings and HH specifically should be considered because of all the problems they’ve had such as toilet leakages and musty smells. The juxtaposition of the old and eroded buildings with the new, clean and sharp looking expansions looks odd and isn’t fair to keep some students studying in older buildings while others, mostly STEM majors, get to study in newer, more efficient buildings.

Upgrading the current buildings could create less disparity between students having to study in the older buildings versus the students in the newer buildings and would address concerns of lack of maintenance and aesthetic. While understandably the campus administration is the decision maker of these kinds of things in the end, it feels fair to criticize the lack of updates being made to the current buildings and expanding constantly.