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Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

Mercer construction tearing up sacred campus space

At the closing of Founder’s Day, SGA President Mollie Davis mentioned to the crowd that the students walking around campus this year will be the last group to ever play on Porter Patch. By the time next year’s group of students starts school, Cruz Plaza will be the new norm.
As a younger student, I probably wouldn’t have thought too much about Porter Patch being ripped out and replaced with something newer and supposedly better.
However, I’m a senior. With roughly 2 months left of school, I’m starting to become a lot more sentimental about my Mercer experience.
To go back to go back to Davis’ closing comment, I looked over at my friends who were sitting next to me and we all had a look of disdain on our faces.
Porter Patch served as a very symbolic area of my Mercer experience. During the first night of orientation, a bunch of freshman got together to play ultimate Frisbee.
On that fateful night, I met the majority of my friends and we have stayed pretty close since. Bearstock used to be held on the Patch, and my freshman year was the last year they did that. Oh, the memories. My entire dormroom was shaking that night.
When walking across campus, students could be seen playing a game of catch, ultimate Frisbee, football, and even the occasional game of quidditch.
The historical quad serves as the lounging spot for students, but the Patch was where everyone could play. Now that the Patch is nothing but rubble and red clay, I have no opportunity to play on the Patch one last time.
I don’t mind that the campus is doing something about the outdated aesthetics, but I feel as though the timing of construction was poorly timed.
Of course, I can’t think of a better time to do the construction, but maybe a better way of doing the construction would have allowed students a better school environment.
Currently, I’d say that campus is about 50 percent construction, with both the center of campus and the football field under construction.
I’m being kind of selfish by saying that I wish the construction wasn’t happening so that I could actually walk in a straight line to the library or the University Center, but I seriously feel that way.
I think a better way to have tackled the construction of Cruz Plaza would be phases.
Mercer did that with the Lofts and that worked out pretty well.
The construction with the football field may have been constant, but at least it wasn’t in the center of campus.
Maybe there is an argument that Cruz Plaza has been constructed in phases as there have been various maps released stating which zones are off limits.
Well, that’s cool and all, but there isn’t really an easy way to get from one side of campus to the other.
It’s an inconvenience. Students are in the construction workers’ ways and the construction workers are in the students’ ways.
What’s worse is that the senior class is subjected to deal with all of the construction with no compensation.
At least the classes below my class will get to experience Cruz Plaza in all of its glory.
Another thing, what is the purpose of the 24-hour surveillance camera that covers Cruz Plaza. Is that really necessary?
For the past month or so, there hasn’t been as much construction as there should be due to the weather, yet the camera still records.
Access to the camera can be found through Mercer’s webpage.
I’m uncomfortable with it. At one point, I was off campus at work and was showing my boss the camera’s feed. Right as I pulled up the webpage, my roommate walked through the frame.
I find that so weird, especially since pretty much anyone in the world has access to the surveillance feed.
I can rationalize the use of the camera, but that and with all of the construction that has been going on I don’t even recognize Mercer anymore.
Since I stepped foot on this campus four years ago, there have been expansions to Mercer Village, the tearing out of parking lots, and the adding of parking lots that students hate to use.
The UC arena got a new name and new sponsors, we got a football team, and built a new field. Now, Cruz Plaza is being added to the list.
I’m happy that Mercer is starting to become updated, and that we are turning our area of Macon into a real college town.
I guess since I have done so much growing in the past four years, I should expect my school to do the same.


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