By Michael Levesque, Contributing Writer
Recent construction on High Street addresses an important area of campus but some students feel a little unsure about how to navigate the project.
At the end of October, construction began on a section of High Street from Perham Street to South Street. This area of road runs directly through the center of campus at UMF. For some students, the construction has created a bit of surprises as they make the trip to their classes. Paige Lusczyk, a student at UMF notes some confusion about where students were permitted to walk. “I wasn’t sure if I’d get in trouble with crossing the road while they were working and was late to class by walking around the blocked off road,” she said in an email. “I don’t really hear much of the construction, even with my windows always open,” she said. Although Lusczyk doesn’t note the sound as contributing to the construction drawbacks, other students have. Zack Laflamme, a junior at UMF, says that Francis Allen Black Hall has been affected less by noise from construction but has heard about complaints from the noise through social media. “I live in FAB, so I don’t hear it much but I’ve seen my friends say on their Snapchat stories how loud or distracting the noise is,” Laflamme said. Most students note that noise hasn’t been a terrible issue and that they will get used to the new scene on campus. “I haven’t found the construction all that frustrating,” said Lusczyk.
High Street’s location to UMF means careful planning must be implemented for the members of the community. Philip Hutchins, the public works department head for Farmington, has noted the goals and plans of this project. “The High Street project will last until 2022,” he said in an email. “This is split up in two phases. The roadway pave portion will be completed this fall; which will soon be open to traffic again,” said Hutchins. “[In] the spring of 2022, we will commence on the outside of roadway construction.” Many assets are expected to be added to the area around UMF in the spring. “An addition of over 30 new street lamps, new sidewalks, curbing and more parking accessibility, such as bus turn-outs for campus activities [will be added],” said Hutchins.
Hutchins understands the possible confusion and magnitude of the project. “I ask for everyone’s patience until the project is completed,” he said. As part of a “full depth reconstruction” project listed on the public works department website, the expected cost of this project is $300,000.“This project is funded by local municipal government and by the Maine Department of Transportation,” Hutchins added. As many people look forward to a potentially more quiet section of road, others look towards the improvements in the future. “This project will give the area a whole new welcoming and warming look”